May 12, 2015
Euro-area governments are considering putting together an aid package for Greece to cushion the country’s economy if it was forced out of the euro, according to two people familiar with the discussions.
The Greek government doesn’t expect to need that help. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he’s not considering leaving the currency bloc and is focused on getting the aid he needs to avoid a default.
Even so, European officials are considering mechanisms to ring fence Greece both politically and economically in the event of a euro breakup, in order to shield the rest of the currency bloc from the fallout, one of the people said.
“There is always a plan B,” Filippo Taddei, an economic adviser to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, said in an interview in Rome on Tuesday, without referring to the aid package specifically. “But you have to ask yourself who has the ability to step in, in that event. And I think if you start making up a list you realize very quickly that that list is very short.”
While euro-area finance ministers welcomed the progress Greece has made toward qualifying for more financial aid at a meeting in Brussels on Monday, policy makers are still concerned Tsipras may not be prepared to swallow the concessions necessary for a disbursement.