Still, European leaders are increasingly willing — even eager — to comment publicly on the possibility that Greece will leave, something they long refused to countenance, not just because relations with Greece continue to deteriorate but also as a result of their own preparations.
“We’ve worked hard to mitigate against such a scenario,” the Dutch finance minister, Jan Kees de Jager, told reporters after a meeting of European finance ministers early this week. “That’s why the contagion risk would be far, far smaller than one and a half years ago.”
What once seemed unthinkable is being reduced to a budget line. Economists at a German bank recently estimated that a Greek exit would cost the German government about 100 billion euros ($127 billion), or about 3 percent of the nation’s annual economic output.
François Baroin, the departing French finance minister, said this week that a Greek exit would cost France up to 50 billion euros — a similar share of its economic output.
“Greece is not a big deal in itself. It’s not a major risk and our banks and insurance companies certainly would be able to absorb it,” Baroin told Europe 1, a French radio station on Tuesday.Page 2 of 6 | Prev Page | Next Page