EU's Juncker rules out a Grexit

JunckerVincent Kessler/ReutersEuropean Commission President Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker arrives to address the European Parliament to present a plan on growth, jobs and investment, in Strasbourg, November 26, 2014.

In an interview in WirtschaftsWoche, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he expected Greece to stay in the euro. “I see Greece as a permanent member of the euro family … a Greek exit won’t happen.”

Echoing Juncker, French President Hollande said, “Greece is in the euro zone and it must remain in the euro zone,” in a joint news conference with Germany’s Merkel. “I know of no scenario today involving a euro zone exit.”

Merkel hollandePascal Rossignol/ReutersGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) adjusts her earpiece at the start of a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande after talks at the Elysee Palace in Paris February 20, 2015.

Hollande, who was speaking ahead of the crucial Eurogroup meeting, said Greece must meet its commitments but its euro zone partners must also take into account the election that brought to power anti-austerity parties.

Euro zone officials have said that Greece’s stance has undermined their confidence in whether the nation’s new left-wing government can be trusted to deliver what it agreed to in talks with the other countries sharing the euro.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that one of the main issues with the bailout deal is a lack there of trust among European nations.

“This is about being able to trust each other and that we can reinforce the trust in the future of this European unification project of people in all European countries. That’s the actual task and that’s what we are working on with all our might,” Schaeuble told reporters before the meeting.

Greece expects to strike a deal with other euro zone countries on Friday that would extend its international bailout by six months during which it would get more financing, its finance minister said on entering talks of the ministers.

Asked by reporters if there would be a deal on Friday, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said, “I trust that we are going to have one. The Greek government has not just gone the extra mile but the extra 10 miles and now we are expecting our partners not to meet us half way but a fifth of the way.”

(Reporting by Ingrid Melander, Caroline Copley, Michael Nienaber and Yann Le Guernigou; Editing by Mark John)

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