Austria's Finance Minister says Grexit appears "almost inevitable"

Austria's Finance Minister says Grexit appears "almost inevitable"
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks during a parliamentary session in Athens, Greece on June 28, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

VIENNA - Austria's finance minister said on Sunday that Greece's exit from the eurozone "appears almost inevitable", after EU leaders refused to extend Athens's desperately needed bailout.

The refusal was sparked by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's surprise call for a referendum on bailout proposals.

"Greece is solely responsible for a failure of the negotiations," said Hans Jorg Schelling in an interview with Austrian newspaper Die Presse.

He added that a so-called Grexit was would only be possible if Greece got the permission of other member countries.

"Greece would have to file a request to do so. The other EU countries would have to approve the request. Only then could Greece leave the eurozone," he said.

"The consequences for the euro countries are not nearly as bad as for Greece," Schelling added.

"It's clear that one country can under no circumstances blackmail the European Commission and the euro countries."

His comments came as the European Central Bank was set to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday amid mounting fears Greece's banks will be unable to open next week.

The bailout deadline expires on Tuesday.

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