Greek’s leftist leader said his country would default, and has forecast that the ruling coalition government would look into returning to using the country’s old currency.
Syriza party head Alexis Tsipras said in an interview Saturday with Greek weekly Real News that the government will “soon present” the idea for Greece to stop using the euro and use the drachma, reported the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
Tsipras said that any extension of the deal with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union is “essentially a longer rope with which to hang ourselves.”
Campaigning on an anti-austerity platform, Syriza came in second in the recent elections in Greece and is the next biggest party after the ruling coalition. Tsipras has been strongly against the harsh austerity measures required to secure the $170 billion bailout from the EU and IMF, but does not favor leaving the eurozone.
To add to the gloomy atmosphere, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was visiting Athens on Sunday, that Greece is in a “great depression” similar to what the U.S. experienced in the 1930s, reported Reuters.
“You had the Great Depression in the United States,” he said, according to the news agency. “This is exactly what we’re going through in Greece—it’s our version of the Great Depression.”
By the end of the year, Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP) will have shrunk by around one-fifth in five years of economic decline.
The country needs to reduce its budget deficit to below 3 percent of its GDP by the end of 2014, requiring around $14.5 billion, the news agency said.
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