Germany’s Altmaier Says Greek Euro Future May Hang on Unity Deal

German lawmaker Peter Altmaier said Greece’s future in the euro area may depend on the country’s bid to form a national unity government and implement long-term reforms of the economy.

“We have over all these weeks and months made it clear we want to preserve the euro,” Altmaier, the deputy parliamentary leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said on Sky News today, when asked if Greece should leave the currency bloc. “At the final stage, it depends what happens inside Greece,” he said. “We hope the Greek political elite will come to a clear sign of national unity.”

Prime Minister George Papandreou is racing to form a unity government and preserve international aid before Greece runs out of money next month. President Karolos Papoulias met in Athens today with Antonis Samaras, head of the main opposition party, in a bid to persuade him to support a government of national unity. Samaras signaled today he’ll back such a government once Papandreou steps down.

Altmaier said Papandreaou’s planned referendum on the nation’s bailout added to “uncertainty on markets and among people,” and Greek politicians must commit to reform instead of continuing a “blame game of government versus opposition.”

“This is a crisis of the euro zone that is really serious and has accumulated over at least 30 years,” he said. “We have to provide short-term” measures and longer-term structural reforms, he said.

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