French President Francois Hollande said that to evoke the even the possibility was dangerous — and would send a signal to the markets that the eurozone wasn't standing behind Greece.
The debate reflects the fine line European leaders must walk between pressuring Greece to stick to a program of spending cuts and tax hikes that have exacerbated its economic slowdown and trying to ensure its presence in the eurozone.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy suggested the European Central Bank resume some of its emergency measures, such as buying the bonds of weak countries, which has the impact of lowering countries' borrowing rates. The ECB has suspended the purchases because, as an independent body, it does not want to be seen supporting governments directly. Instead, it has given European banks massive amounts of cheap loans to bolster confidence in the financial system and allow banks to buy up their country's debt.
Leaders on Thursday also addressed the contentious issue of whether the countries that use the euro should spread the risk and borrow money jointly - issuing so-called "eurobonds." This would mean every country could borrow funds at the same rate, substantially lowering the costs for the more indebted countries.
Hollande has pushed for them as an important way to ensure such a crisis never happens again, but Merkel has rejected them, fearing they would reduce the pressure on heavily indebted governments to heal their finances and force Germany to borrow at higher rates.
Don Melvin contributed to this story.
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