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Euro zone ministers focus on Greece

Monday, May 14, 2012 - 01:46

May 14 - Finance ministers of the 17 euro countries meet to discuss Greece where a political deadlock raises the prospect of the country's exit from the euro zone. Sonia Legg reports.

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They don't always see eye to eye about key issues but this time finance ministers arriving for a meeting in Brussels were in broad agreement. Ireland's Michael Noonan spoke for many. IRISH FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL NOONAN ARRIVING "I would like Greece to stay in the euro , I think it is very important that the euro zone stays in tact and that the very many countries who want to join the euro when things stabilise will have the stabilisation necessary to allow them to join." But the unthinkable is now being thought about. After last week's election failed to produce a pro-bailout government ministers now openly accept a Greek exit from the euro is possible. Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN MINISTER OF FINANCE WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE SAYING: "It is not about being more of less generous towards Greece, It is undisputed that the Greek people have to suffer from the consequences of decades of neglect. There is no easy path for Greece whatever the result." The biggest fear is contagion. If economies in the likes of Spain and Italy are dragged down by the crisis the entire currency's existence could be under threat. Spain's Economy Minister is Luis de Guindos (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) SPANISH MINISTER OF ECONOMY LUIS DE GUINDOS SAYING: "I don't want to talk about a possible exit for Greece or any other country because I believe it would be a disaster for all." Spain is also on the ministers' agenda. They may decide to give the euro zone's fourth largest economy more time to reach its budget targets. But for now Greece's political stalemate is the main priority. And time is not on their side - without the next bailout instalment it could run out of money as soon as next month. Sonia Legg, Reuters

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Euro zone ministers focus on Greece

Monday, May 14, 2012 - 01:46