German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on a visit to Japan on Monday that Europe faced a formidable challenge in reaching a financial aid agreement with Greece that would keep it in the euro zone.
Asked at a news conference in Tokyo about whether she would rule out a so-called «Grexit», as European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker appeared to do in an interview over the weekend, Merkel struck a more cautious tone.
"I have said time and time again, and I can say it again here, our political goal is to keep Greece in the euro zone. We have been working on this for many years,» she said.
"But it's also true that there are two sides to this coin -- on the one hand solidarity from European partners, and on the other the readiness to implement reforms and other commitments at home. On this, we clearly have a very difficult path ahead of us."