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No 'bad thing' if Greece leaves euro: Warren Buffett

Buffett: Euro zone has to work in harmony
Buffett: Euro zone has to work in harmony

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC that if Greece ended up leaving the euro zone, "that may not be a bad thing for the euro."

Asked by CNBC's Becky Quick Tuesday whether it could be a good thing for struggling Greece to leave the 19-country single currency union, Buffett said, "it could be a good idea (in) several ways if everybody learns that the rules mean something."

"If it turns out that the Greeks leave, that may not be a bad thing for the euro," he added.

The chairman and chief executive of multinational holding company Berkshire Hathaway said that it was not "ordained" that the euro had to have "exactly the same members it has today" but it did need adequate management, he believed.

"But it is ordained that over time the countries in the euro zone have to have somewhat compatible labor laws, fiscal deficits, general management of their economy that don't result in outliers that really aren't playing the game the way the rules are supposed to be and we may find out very soon about Greece," he said.

Warren Buffett
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Buffett's comments come as relations between Greece and its euro zone neighbors and creditors become increasingly strained and its reforms remain firmly on paper.

On Monday, Greece's latest package of proposed reforms was rejected by lenders as more of a list of ideas than concrete reform plans. As such, a last tranche of bailout aid remains unlocked.

Greece's bailout program was extended by four months in February but it has yet to present a credible list of reforms that have been accepted by those overseeing its bailout – the European commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. In the meantime, it is haemorrhaging its reserves and could run out of cash by April 20.

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Greece remains confident that it will strike a deal with its creditors, it would seem, despite the rejections of its reform plans. On Tuesday, the Greek Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis said he expected an agreement with Greece's creditors on reforms to be reached next week, Reuters reported.

The current impasse over the reform plans has only heaped on concerns that Greece's future in the euro zone is uncertain and that whether the single currency area can survive if there is a "Grexit". Relations between Athens and Berlin have become increasingly strained with the latter refusing to allow Greece more aid, or a debt haircut.

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For one, Buffett told CNBC he had always been skeptical as to the efficacy of the single currency union, saying the euro had "structural problems right from the moment it was put in." However, he did stress that he did not have a bet on where the euro zone crisis is likely to head, saying, "I don't have a dime on it."

"The euro is not dead and it may never be dead but it does have to work in greater harmonization of financial matters in its constituent countries," he said. " It can't live with people going in dramatically different directions. The Germans are not going to fund the Greeks forever."

More patience needed?

Greece needs aggressive reform package
Greece needs aggressive reform package

Petros Doukas, former deputy finance minister of Greece, told CNBC Wednesday that the country needed to introduce an aggressive reform package immediately.

"We need to reform the economy, we need much more pro-market legislation—and the government is not moving in that direction," he told CNBC on Wednesday.

"The government is trying to convince Europe that by collecting more taxes the problem will be solved. But it won't be solved and we need to get a much more aggressive reform package to Europe and we're not doing that."

He added however that Europeans needed to be more patient with Greece, despite the "snail's pace" of reforms, as the country would "get there in the end."

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt. Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld

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Greece needs aggressive reform package
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