By Simon Miller
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has criticised speculation over a Greek exit from the eurozone.
Speaking to reporters after landing in Brussels for a meeting of EU finance ministers, Osborne warned the eurozone crisis was very serious and was having a "real impact on economic growth across the European continent, including in Britain, and it’s the uncertainty that’s causing the damage".
In addition he warned that talk about a Greek exit was causing continuing damage across Europe.
“Of course countries have got to make difficult decisions about their public finances. We know that in Britain. But it’s the open speculation from some members of the eurozone about the future of some countries in the eurozone which I think is doing real damage across the whole European economy,” Osborne said.
His warning was seen as a veiled criticism of Germany and its chancellor Angela Merkel who is the chief supporter of austrity measures that are seen as crippling Greece and has caused political mayhem in the country with politicans unable to form a government.
Merkel, under domestic pressure to force Greece out, said it was better for Greeks to stay in the euro area but that it also required "that we set out a path on which Greece gets back on its feet step by step".
She added: "The solidarity for the euro will end only if Greece just says, 'We’re not keeping to the agreement.’ But I don’t expect that to happen. I do think they are making an effort. There are many, many people in Greece who actually want it."
However, chairman of the eurogroup of finance ministers Jean-Claude Juncker echoed Osborne's warning, accusing Germany of making "propaganda" over a Greek exit.
"I am against this way of dealing with Greece by provoking Greek public opinion. Threatening Greece day after day is not the way of dealing with partners, friends and citizens," he commented.