With Greeks headed for another election— the third election in under a year, and a caretaker prime minister sworn in— Greece’s sixth prime minister in five years, political instability and inaction on reforms is leading some Europeans to revive the dreaded G word.
The notion of a Grexit, or a Greek exit from the eurozone was all but eradicated when prime minister Alexis Tsipras left Brussels bruised— but with a bailout deal in hand in early July.
Europe celebrated. A deal was had. The eurozone would remain intact and Greece would agree to crippling— but necessary (according to Germany) reforms in order to move the bloc forward.
But not so fast, say some Europeans— and important ones, at that.
Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism – the vehicle disbursing bailout funds to Greece – refused to rule out a Greek exit from the euro zone should Athens fail to implement sufficient reform. “The threat as a possibility must always be there and still is there,” he told a news conference in Berlin last week.
His comments came just hours after European Bank Executive Board member Benoît Cœuré revisited the no-longer-taboo topic of a breakdown of European monetary union. “The genie will not be put back in its bottle once and for all, until it is clear that such a risk will not rear its head again,” he said.
The timing of remarks appears to be a not-so-veiled message to Greece to press on with economic reform, as handed in the third bailout agreement in July.
In other news, the word Grexit was officially added to the official Oxford dictionary this week, joining words like “manspreading” (when men take up too much space on public transport) and “brainfart” (a momentary mental lapse).