Greece must make sacrifices to overcome its debt crisis or face the risk of leaving the eurozone and returning to the drachma, the European Commission’s Greek representative warned Wednesday.
“The greatest (achievement) of post-war Greece — the euro and the country’s European course — are in danger,” fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki said in a statement.
“The scenario of Greece distancing itself from the euro is on the table,” the veteran Greek socialist said, stating that she was “forced to speak openly.”
“We either agree with our creditors on a programme of tough sacrifices that brings results, and assume the responsibilities for our past, or we return to the drachma. The rest is secondary under today’s conditions,” she said.
The Greek government and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the group of eurozone finance ministers, strongly denied rumours earlier this month that Athens was considering abandoning the euro.
Greece is struggling to avert a new debt crisis one year after the European Union and IMF approved a 110-billion-euro ($155-billion) bailout to help the country avoid default.
After launching an unpopular austerity programme in exchange for the financial lifeline, the socialist government is now under intense pressure from its European partners to quickly move on a planned sale of public assets.