"Leave no stone unturned to keep Greece on board"

The European Commissioner for Trade, Belgium's Karel De Gucht, claims that Greece will not be able to solve its problems by leaving the eurozone. "The more we are getting an idea of what a Greek exit would imply, the more reasons we are seeing not to let this happen. We should do everything possible to keep Greece on board."

Mr De Gucht (Flemish liberal) was speaking in the VRT's current affairs radio programme De Ochtend. Due to the political stalemate in Greece, a Greek exit is coming closer. Smaller political parties which reject the new round of austerity measures demanded by Europe in return for financial help, won the recent elections and new elections would probably give them even more wind in the sails.

"I don't know if it has ever been unthinkable, but a Greek exit is possible", Mr De Gucht admitted. "If we have new elections in Greece and voters reject new cuts again, then we simply have to take notice of the fact that Greece is out."

Europe should do everything to avoid this exit scenario though. Mr De Gucht sends a warning to the Greek people in the first place. "An exit would be a big drama for the next generation of Greek people who won't overcome this."

Mr De Gucht fears the outcome of possible new elections. "A democracy works as it should when rational decisions are being made. This is when rational people go to the polls. However, in Greece we have desperate voters going to the polls. Will they make the best decision? It's hard to say."

Europe will be faced with technical and financial consequences in the case of an exit. "I presume we have a contingency plan ready. But let's hope we never have to use it."