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China Daily Website

Eurozone very probably to 'survive Grexit'

Updated: 2012-06-01 10:44
( Xinhua)

BRUSSELS - The possibility of a Greek exit from the euro area is quite low, and the single-currency area would very probably survive a Greek exit, a senior expert at China's top think tank said Thursday.

"While Greece is too small to fail, the eurozone is too big to fail," Zhou Hong, head of the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) told Xinhua on the sidelines of a forum at the European Parliament in Brussels.

She attributed the rising popularity of the anti-bailout parties in Greece to the political games played by some politicians. "I believe the Greek people will make the obvious right choice as soon as the lies are exposed and the truth is told."

For people who said geopolitical reasons can stop the euro area from dropping Greece, Zhou said, Greece no longer holds its previous geopolitical status as the "Cold War" is long gone, and the eurozone and the European Union now have much more cards in hands than Greece does.

"At the end of the day, it is very likely that the Greek people will realize it is less painful to suffer in the eurozone than outside it."

A Greek exit from the euro would deal a heavy blow to the whole European Project and might lead to some domino effects, but the collapse of eurozone would be unimaginable because so much is at stake for major European countries and the global financial system, she said.

"From the perspective of economics, the single currency might fail as a result of the Greek exit, but I believe the strong political will will stand firm behind the European Project and the fruits of 60 years of integration would not be wiped out overnight."

Concerning rumours that China's sovereign wealth fund has stopped buying eurozone countries' sovereign debts, Zhou did not comment directly, but said there is a small number of people in China too pessimistic about the euro and very concerned about the safety of China's assets.

"It's not only China who has shown this tendency and concern, but also many other European investors, including the British ones, have been shifting their capital away from the eurozone," she added.

The waning confidence in euro would serve an alarming bell to the Greek people, that if it defaults, reneges on its promises, they would completely lose their credibility and a much more misery situation would await, Zhou said.

However, from a strategic point of view, it is in China's interest to maintain the integrity of the euro area and China can play a more active role by importing more from Europe and investing more there to stimulate demand and create jobs.

"The crisis has lowered the asset prices in Europe. This is really good opportunities for China," she told Xinhua.