US President Barack Obama indicated on Friday that life outside the eurozone would be far worse for Greeks than the austerity measures demanded in exchange for financial aid from Europeans whom he pressed to take action to stabilize the bloc.
Addressing reporters in Washington, Obama said the Greek people must recognize, ahead of crucial general elections on June 17, “that their hardships will likely be worse” if they choose to leave the euro.
In a nod to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, Obama urged European leaders to pursue growth alongside austerity, noting that they have the support of the US, whose economy is inextricably linked to theirs.
Merkel, for her part, once again reiterated her desire that Greece remain in the eurozone, but as long as it honors the terms of the foreign bailout known as the memorandum. “This memorandum is the foundation for a favorable development and we have to say that clearly to all those who are seeking election in Greece,” she said.
Former European Commission President Romano Prodi told Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that Greece is “a test for the future of Europe” and would also test the ability of EU member states to remain united.
Meanwhile Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed “solidarity” with Greece, backpedaling on disparaging comments earlier this week. “Our culture dictates that we cannot sleep with a full stomach when our neighbor is hungry,” he said.
The comments came a few days after the Turkish PM, in response to a comment by an opposition party leader who had claimed that the Greek economy was in a better state than the Turkish one, had described Greece as “going cap in hand” to international creditors.