Speaking at a press conference this evening, Eurogroup Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker made some of the best comments yet in regards to Greece.
Via Reuters, here’s what he said on the prospects of Greece leaving the Eurozone…
“I made it perfectly clear that nobody was mentioning an exit of Greece from the euro area. I am strongly against. We are 17 member states being co-owners of our common currency.
“I don’t envisage, not even for one second, Greece leaving the euro area. This is nonsense, this is propaganda.
“We have to respect Greek democracy. I’m against this way of dealing with Greece consisting in provoking the Greek public opinion and giving advice and indications to the Greek sovereign.
“Greece has voted, we have to take into account the result. We do hope that a government will be formed in the next coming days or weeks and then we have to deal with that government. We don’t have to lecture Greece.
“But the Greek public, the Greek citizens, have to know that we agreed on a programme and this programme has to be implemented. But I don’t like the way of dealing with Greece, those that are threatening Greece day after day. This is not the way of dealing with partners, colleagues and friends and citizens in the European Union.”
There are a few things that are great about these comments.
First, he’s lowing the temperature. All these leaders have come out in recent days, talking about Greece leaving, and Juncker’s calming things down, which is helpful.
Moreover, this is the first time we’ve heard a major leader acknowledge that Greece had a vote and is a democracy, and that it’s unrealistic to think that a democracy changing governments isn’t going to change the way it goes about things.
And beyond that he makes the important point that The Euro is a shared currency, and that all the cou ntries are in this together. One of the particularly galling things of late is that the Euro — which is really the latest establishment in a long effort to bring peace to Europe — has been the source of such division.
So these comments may not mean all that much, but… this is refreshing.