German minister says Greece should leave the eurozone | News | DW | 25.02.2012
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German minister says Greece should leave the eurozone

Germany's interior minister has said that Greece should leave the eurozone for its own good. However, parliament is expected to approve a second bailout for Greece when it votes on Monday.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has become the first member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to come out in favor of Greece leaving the eurozone and returning to its former currency, the drachma.

"Greece's chances of regenerating itself and becoming competitive would certainly be better than if it stays in the eurozone," the Spiegel Online news website quoted Friedrich as saying.

"I'm not talking about kicking Greece out, but instead about creating incentives for it to leave, that it couldn't refuse," Friedrich added. The interior minister is a member of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

Bundestag vote

However, there is no indication that the CSU is planning to do anything but approve of the second bailout for Greece, when the 130-billion euro ($175-billion) package is put to a vote in Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, on Monday.

"I believe that a large majority of our CSU deputies will vote in favor on Monday," party leader Horst Seehofer said in Munich on Saturday.

In addition to the 130-billion-euro bailout, the Bundestag is expected to approve the release of 24.4 billion euros, from Greece's first international bailout, which had been held back due to concerns about the progress of its efforts to reduce its budgetary deficit.

The latest bailout for Greece was agreed after marathon talks at a eurozone summit in Brussels on Monday. It stipulates that the Greek government implement even more harsh austerity measures than it has up until now and is paired with a 107-billion-euro write-down of bad Greek debt held by private lenders.

Chancellor Merkel has consistently spoken out in favor of keeping Greece in the eurozone, as long as Athens implements the budgetary reforms it agreed to as part of the bailout packages.

pfd/dfm (AFP, dpa)