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Greece cannot imagine leaving eurozone

Greece would face steep inflation, massive wage cuts and the destruction of currently healthy businesses if it quits the euro, a senior Greek economic advisor said in an interview published Sunday. "We want to rebuild the country and not let it be plundered," Ghikas Hardouvelis, the economic advisor to Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos, told daily newspaper To Vima.

Hardouvelis comments came after German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said Saturday that debt-stricken Greece should be given incentives to leave the eurozone, arguing such a move would improve its chances of becoming competitive again. "Outside European monetary union, Greece's chances of regenerating itself and become competitive are definitely bigger than if it remained inside the eurozone," Friedrich said in an interview with news magazine Der Spiegel.

Friedrich was speaking ahead of a vote by German lawmakers Monday on a further 130 billion euros ($175 billion) in loans for Greece that would bring tough new austerity measures and tighter European Union and International Monetary Fund oversight of its economy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is opposed to Greece leaving the eurozone despite its huge debt burden and expects parliament to give the green light to the latest rescue package.

For more: AFP: Greece cannot imagine leaving eurozone: advisor

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