February 28, 2012
Monday’s German parliamentary vote on the second bailout package for Greece has been overshadowed by a rift within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right coalition about the wisdom of granting fresh aid, with Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich saying Greece should be encouraged to leave the euro.
In an interview with SPIEGEL published on Monday, Friedrich said: “Greece’s chances to regenerate itself and become competitive are surely greater outside the monetary union than if it remains in the euro area.” He added that he did not support a forced exit. “I’m not talking about throwing Greece out, but rather about creating incentives for an exit that they can’t pass up.” It was the first time a member of the German government called on Greece to leave the currency.
An opinion poll published in Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday showed a majority of Germans agrees with Friedrich, a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union.