Saturday 1 October 2016

Greece Crisis: No 'contagion' in event of 'Grexit', says Finance Minister Michael Noonan

Colm Kelpie in Luxembourg

Published 18/06/2015 | 14:39

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis attends an annual meeting of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Board of Governors ahead of an euro zone finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis attends an annual meeting of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Board of Governors ahead of an euro zone finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

There'll be no contagion effect in the event of a Greek exit from the Eurozone, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said.

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Mr Noonan said European governments had gone as ''far as they're going to go'' to prevent Greece leaving the single currency, and that the option now was to '''prepare the B plan''.

Read more here: Greece crisis: Optimism 'low' over prospects of deal that might prevent Greece bankruptcy  

On his way into a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg this afternoon, Mr Noonan said the Department of Finance, the National Treasury Management Agency and the Central Bank have been discussing a possible exit at a ''high level''.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis attends an annual meeting of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Board of Governors ahead of an euro zone finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis attends an annual meeting of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Board of Governors ahead of an euro zone finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
A Greek and European flag are wrapped around their flagpole at the embassy of Greece in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, left, and Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, speak during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, June 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

''We don't think there'll be a contagion effect if there was a Greek exit but we've had the conversations at a high level with the NTMA and the Central Bank and we're watching the situation,'' the minister said.

Read more here: Greece crisis: Merkel says deal still possible if Athens shows the will  

''We're taking advice from the European Central Bank and Frankfurt and from elsewhere. But it's a European issue rather than an Irish issue.

''There is still time and there is still space for a further discussion and a further set of proposals.''

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis attends an annual meeting of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Board of Governors ahead of an euro zone finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis attends an annual meeting of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) Board of Governors ahead of an euro zone finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg, June 18, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
A woman takes a drink in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill in Athens June 18, 2015. Hopes of a breakthrough at Thursday's gathering of European finance ministers, once seen as the last opportunity for an agreement, looked increasingly remote. REUTERS/Paul Hanna
German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a speech pressing Greece to deliver on commitments to carry out reforms. (AP)

Earlier German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a deal between Greece and its creditors was still possible if Athens showed the necessary will, amid mounting pessimism that the austerity-hit country might crash out of the Eurozone.

Talks have deadlocked, amid looming debt repayments by Greece and the fear of a potential default.

Mr Noonan said he believed that Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis would be making an intervention during today's meeting, but said he didn't have any further details.

Read more here: Greece crisis: Ireland among EU countries making contingency plans for Grexit  

And he didn't appear optimistic that it could lead to progress.

''I've heard Yanis' proposals before and they tend to be more macro economic in nature rather than specific, and negotiations are about specifics,'' the minister said.

''I wouldn't have any great expectations of a positive outcome from today's meeting. I think that it will be discussed but it will be a preliminary discussion to a longer political discussion at the heads of state and government meeting.''

Asked how far member states are prepared to go to prevent an exit, Mr Noonan said: ''I think they've gone about as far as they're going to go.

''The option is to prepare the B plan.''

Read more here: Without Europe's support, you can't blame Greeks reaching out to Moscow  

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