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'Greece has lost power to blackmail': German MP

AFP · 31 Dec 2014, 17:48

Published: 31 Dec 2014 17:48 GMT+01:00

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Fears of a potential Greek exit from the eurozone have rattled markets since a political crisis in Athens led to early elections, called for late January, in which a leftist anti-austerity party has good prospects of winning, threatening to unwind painful reforms.

Michael Fuchs, deputy parliamentary leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, suggested the idea of Greece breaching its commitments to creditors and eventually leaving the single currency bloc was no longer a doomsday scenario.

"The situation is entirely different than three years ago," Fuchs told the Rheinische Post daily.

"The times when we had to rescue Greece are over. There is no potential for blackmail any more. Greece is no longer of systemic relevance for the euro."

He stressed that "if Alexis Tsipras of the Greek leftist party Syriza believes he can roll back the reform efforts and savings measures of Greece, then the troika will also have to roll back the loans for Greece".

Syriza, currently the front-runner in polls, has pledged to unwind many of the reforms imposed by the so-called "troika" of the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank -- by cutting taxes and increasing state aid and public services.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras warned Tuesday that the financially-stricken nation may be forced out of the eurozone if the election is won by Syriza.

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The European Union has renewed its calls on Greeks to stick by the often painful reforms adopted as part of a massive international bailout for the eurozone member state.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was more direct, saying Greeks "have no alternative" to the reform path.

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