We can't print drachmas, says Greece's finance minister

ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure says Greece will need its debt restructured and calls for greater political integration of the eurozone (AFP Photo/Denis Charlet)

Athens (AFP) - With speculation swirling that Greece might be forced out of the euro and have to print its own money after a weekend referendum, its finance minister on Thursday said the country no longer had the presses to make drachmas.

"We don't have the capacity," Yanis Varoufakis told Australian public radio network ABC.

In 2000, the year before Greece joined the eurozone, "one of the things we had to do was get rid of all our printing presses" as part of the bloc's assertion that "this monetary union is irreversible," he said.

"We smashed the printing presses -- we have no printing presses," Varoufakis said.

Greece's government last week called the rush referendum for this coming Sunday.

It says the consultation is narrowly about whether the country should accept harsh austerity measures in return for a bailout from international creditors that expired on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Varoufakis are calling for a 'No' vote.

But leading eurozone nations Germany, France and Italy say the plebiscite is really about whether Greek citizens want to keep the euro or not.