Greece may have to leave the eurozone if it fails to secure its latest bailout from the EU, IMF and banks, a government spokesperson has warned, BBC reports. “The bailout agreement needs to be signed otherwise we will be out of the markets, out of the euro,” spokesman Pantelis Kapsis told Skai TV. The government is struggling with public opposition to new austerity measures, demanded by lenders. Analysts suggest the warning is designed to win support for the moves. The Greek Prime Minister, former central banker Lucas Papdemos, is due to address the nation in the next few days to try to win support for new spending cuts and structural reforms. The latest EUR 130bln was agreed in principle by EU leaders in October, conditional on Greece adopting further measures to cut its deficit and restructure its economy. EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank inspectors are due in Athens later in January to review progress.
Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy will make what has become a familiar trek from Paris to Berlin for Jan. 9 talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel that will focus on preparations for a summit of all 27 European Union leaders at the end of January, WSJ reports. The French and German leaders’ meeting will be the first of several gatherings this month, as European leaders seek to conclude negotiations on closer economic integration and more-robust surveillance of euro-zone budgets by the end of March.