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Lagarde: preparations must be made for Greek exit

The global financial system must be equipped to deal with the potential exit of Greece from the eurozone in the near future.

That is according to Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who has insisted it is vital for the region to make contingency plans for any eventuality as the Mediterranean country's crisis rumbles on.

Speaking during an interview with French television station France 24, the official commented that the IMF "certainly doesn't hope" Greece will have to depart the economic bloc, but added: "We have to be technically prepared for anything".

Ms Lagarde went on to say that a Greek exit would be "messy", as it would have a negative impact on the eurozone's growth, trade and financial markets.

Yesterday (15 May), the region's ongoing problems were underlined by new data from Eurostat, which revealed that its gross domestic product remained flat in the opening quarter of 2012.

By Gary Cooper