The British government is accelerating its preparations for a possible Greek exit from the euro zone, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday, after the Greek central bank warned of the consequences of such a scenario.
“You can expect that we are continuing to make sure we have the right plans in place and stepping up preparations given where discussions have got to,” the spokeswoman told reporters, saying the potential impact on business, banks, the financial sector and tourists was being looked at.
A ‘Grexit’ or Greek euro zone exit would represent a serious economic risk to Britain, she added, saying it underlined the necessity of having a growing economy and strong public finances.
Meanwhile, a new poll shows a clear majority of Germans want Greece to leave the European Union (EU).
YouGov revealed on Wednesday that 58 per cent of people would prefer it if Greece simply left the EU against just 28 per cent of Germans who thought that Greece should remain in, while 14 per cent had no opinion. Germany is Greece’s biggest creditor and the biggest contributor to the EU budget and the eurozone bailout fund.
The poll results come as Europe readies for a last-ditch round of negotiations between Eurogroup finance ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday and Friday. As fraught as the situation is, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has publicly refused to give up hope of a solution – although she admitted on Tuesday that “a decision can only be reached [at the finance ministers’ meeting] if there is a collective suggestion from the three institutions with Greece”.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday that he was willing to return to the table following failed negotiations last weekend.