The European Union and European Central Bank have a contingency plan in place in the event that Greece is forced to exit the euro zone, according to EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht.
He told the Belgian newspaper De Standaard that such measures were designed to minimize any domino effect from a Greek collapse.
Today, whether within the European Central Bank or the European Commission, services are studying emergency scenarios where Greece cannot manage, De Gucht said.
A Greek exit does not mean the end of the euro, as some claim.
De Gucht did not divulge the details of this contingency plan.
Some senior European officials, however, are adamant Greece remain in the currency bloc.
Jose Manuel Gonzalez-Paramo, an ECB executive board member, told Reuters: It is our strong preference that Greece remains in the euro.”
Gonzalez-Paramo's comments echoed those of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, considered the most powerful lawmaker in Europe. Merkel has reiterated she wants Greece to remain in the currency bloc, though she warned Athens must strictly abide by austerity measures.
Meanwhile, as chaos continued to swirl in Greece in the wake of failed attempts to form a coalition government, Merkel spoke to Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Friday morning. Merkel urged Greece to create a functioning government and to put an end to the impasse that threatens to shatter Greece’s finances and push it out of the euro zone.
Greece is under an interim caretaker government appointed by Papoulias, ahead of a new round of elections in mid-June.
[Merkel] reiterated the German position that Europe is waiting for the elections and that it is the wish of all European partners and also of Germany that a government is formed as quickly as possible after the elections, a spokeswoman for the Chancellor said.
Current polls suggest that Syriza, a far-left political party that wants to tear up the austerity agreements, could come in first or second place in the election – a scenario that could put Greece’s euro membership in grave danger.
Fitch, which again downgraded Greece's sovereign ratings, warned, In the event that the new general elections scheduled for 17 June fail to produce a government with a mandate to continue with the EU-IMF program of fiscal austerity and structural reform, an exit of Greece from [the euro zone] would be probable.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to meet with Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama at a summit this weekend. Cameron is expected to tell Merkel that she and Germany are the best hope for saving the euro currency.
Cameron has already warned that the euro zone has to quickly resolve its problems or face a break up.