Germany tells Greece to implement reforms or leave the euro

The Greek crisis has compromised the stability of the bloc...

Germany tells Greece to implement reforms or leave the euro

Anti-austerity protesters in Athens / Yorgos Karahalis AP/Press Association Images

In characteristically sublet terms, German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has warned Greece that it will receive no debt relief - and that it can either implement economic reforms, or leave the euro.

"Athens must finally implement the needed reforms," he told Bild am Sonntag.

"If Greece wants to stay in the euro, there is no way around it – in fact completely regardless of the debt level," he continued.

The country, which has received three bailouts, says that the burden of servicing is €330bn debt is making economic recovery impossible.

This argument has been backed by the IMF.

These comments echo threats made in the summer of 2015 - the country was warned that it could be thrown out of the eurozone at the eleventh hour before its third bailout deal was agreed to.

Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalatos says that the current situation is "as critical as it was in the summer of 2015."

Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said over the weekend, "Everyone realises that Europe cannot stand a rekindling of the Greek crisis, when there are issues with Italy and amid a pre-election period in many European countries."

"The general uncertainty which prevails in Europe - which is both political and financial - creates ... a momentum for a comprehensive and permanent solution for the Greek issue."

Last month US president Barack Obama called for Greece to be offered debt relief during his visit to Athens.

"To the rest of Europe I will continue to emphasise our view that austerity alone cannot deliver prosperity," he said following a meeting with Greek PM Alexis Tsipras.

"I will continue to urge creditors to put Greece on a path of a durable economic recovery.

"Our argument has always been that when the economy contracts this fast, when unemployment is this high, that there also has to be a growth agenda to go with it and it is very difficult to imagine the kind of growth strategy that’s needed without some debt relief mechanism," he added.

Euro struggles

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi’s defeat in a constitutional reform referendum and subsequent pledge to resign sent the euro tumbling to a 21-month low overnight, though it has recovered losses as the markets take the big political development in their stride.

The single currency dropped as much as 1.4% to $2.0505 against the dollar at one point, but is now trading at $1.06. One euro will currently buy you 84 pence sterling.