Merkel pressed to give up on Greece

German chancellor Angela Merkel is coming under growing pressure from within the ranks of her own party bloc to give up on Greece for the sake of the euro.

Members of Merkel’s Christian Democratic bloc are openly challenging her stance of keeping Europe’s most-indebted country in the 19-nation currency region.

Even some officials in the finance ministry are leaning toward the conclusion that the eurozone would be better off without Greece, two people familiar with the matter said.

“The euro would be strengthened if Greece left,” Alexander Radwan, a Merkel-affiliated lawmaker who voted for granting Greece a temporary extension of its bailout in February, said in an interview. “The other countries could then move closer together and apply the rules more strictly.”

With European finance ministers due to resume talks on Greece today, hardening sentiment in Germany risks sending mixed signals to investors as prime minister Alexis Tsipras’s government attempts to reach a deal with creditors.

Merkel has repeatedly voiced public support for keeping the country in the euro, partly for geopolitical reasons. Other officials in her government view Greece as a rule-breaker and a drag on the region’s economy, said the sources.

Finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, a prominent German advocate of European unity for decades, has given plenty of signs of exasperation with Greece since Tsipras and finance minister Yanis Varoufakis took office in January on an anti-austerity platform.

Bloomberg


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