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EU studies options if Greece abandons euro

(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission said on Tuesday that eurozone officials had held contingency "discussions" in case Greece abandons the euro, after press reports of possible capital controls.

"There are indeed discussions, and we are asked to clarify what is foreseen in EU treaties," Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said.

He had been asked about media reports that capital controls could be imposed to prevent cash flight across borders and that limits could be placed on the use of ATM cash dispensing machines.

But he stressed that the commission was not in any way planing on the basis that Greece would leave the eurozone, depending on the outcome of legislative elections on Sunday.

"At the commission, there is no plan whatsoever pre-supposing a Greek exit from the eurozone," he said.

"If there are people within member states or elsewhere who are studying risks, that's their responsibility.

He said: "Others are doing speculative scenarios, we are doing legal clarification," Bailly said.

The spokesman said these ideas had been discussed under "disaster scenarios," but said "we are not scriptwriters."

The commission, he said, was "providing information about EU laws regarding treaties," and said that under article 65 of the Lisbon Treaty, capital "restrictions are possible," on the grounds of "public order and public security."

He spelled out that under decisions by the European Court of Justice, "jurisprudence... has regularly excluded economic security from this concept," and stressed that these discussions did not amount to "plans."

As formal guardian of EU treaties, he said "ours is... to detail European law."

Bailly maintained that the top commission officials insist that "we must wait for the Greek citizens to decide their future."

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