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Merkel Offered to Remove Greece from the Eurozone - Ex-Greek Prime Minister

© REUTERS / Alkis KonstantinidisGreece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reacts during the second of three rounds of a presidential vote at the Greek parliament in Athens December 23, 2014
Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras reacts during the second of three rounds of a presidential vote at the Greek parliament in Athens December 23, 2014 - Sputnik International
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ATHENS (Sputnik) – Former Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras has said German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered him a temporary "Grexit" or withdrawal of the country from the Eurozone amid its large-scale economic crisis — but he had rejected the offer.

"I immediately cut her short and said: ‘We will not continue this discussion, it does not exist. I do not accept this and will not, in any case, agree to withdraw Greece from Euro so forget about it’", Samaras told the broadcaster Skai.

The former prime minister added that if he had mentioned this conversation to anyone, it would've created turbulence on markets and in the economy.

READ MORE: Fears of Grexit Grow as IMF and EU Fall Out Over Bailout Program

Samaras noted that Greece then managed to meet all the preconditions to receive a huge 54 billion euro ($60 billion) loan.

In an interview with Skai published on Thursday, the former prime minister said that he met with Merkel in Berlin on 24 August 2012, when they discussed the crisis in Greece and Merkel asked Samaras if he wanted Greece to leave the Eurozone. Merkel added that there was a plan B to help Athens in that case.

A European Union (EU) flag flutters in front of the temple of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015 - Sputnik International
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The three-year financial assistance programme of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the international financial institution set up by the euro area member states, to Greece successfully concluded in August. The Greece support package was agreed on by ESM members in August 2015.

Greece also received 32.1 billion euros in loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle the economic crisis.

A series of crises hit Greece in the aftermath of the global financial meltdown of 2007-08. Between 2010 and 2012, 52.9 billion euros in loans were disbursed to Greece by eurozone members under the so-called Greek Loan Facility to held Athens cope with the recession. From 2012-2015, Greece received 141.8 billion euros in loans from the European Financial Stability Facility.

READ MORE: Athens Recalls Ambassador to Czech Republic Over Grexit Approval Remarks

The Greek authorities were forced to carry out unpopular austerity reforms in exchange for the loans. Greece joined the Eurozone in 2001 and its exit from the currency bloc was narrowly averted in 2015.

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