Angela Merkel undermined by outspoken MPs

 

Berlin

Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government edged closer to disintegration yesterday as rebellious MPs flatly ignored her warnings about making rash statements and speculated openly about Greece leaving the eurozone.

The latest snub to Ms Merkel's softly-softly approach to Athens' spiralling debt came from a senior conservative cabinet minister who joined the growing revolt against her stance on the euro already voiced by her liberal Free Democrat coalition partners.

Peter Ramsauer, the German Transport Minister and deputy leader of Ms Merkel's Bavarian conservative partners in government, told Die Zeit newspaper that his party was actively working on proposals to eject chronic debtor countries from the eurozone.

"It might be risky and painful for Greece to leave the euro, but it would not be the end of the world," Mr Ramsauer said. He also criticised plans for a permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM) because the German parliament would have "no control" over it.

His comments came less than 24 hours after Ms Merkel warned MPs to "weigh their words carefully" when discussing the euro. She insisted that "everything" should be done to keep the eurozone together because the financial collapse of Greece and its exit would have a domino effect. "The danger that it would hit everyone is very big," she said. Her warning was prompted by comments from Economics Minister, Phillip Rösler, her liberal Free Democrat deputy, who said that Greece needed an "orderly default" on its debts and did not rule out the possibility of the country being ejected from the eurozone. His comments caused sharp falls on the markets and yesterday the Free Democrats stepped up the pressure on the Chancellor. In an interview with the German edition of the Financial Times, Christian Lindner, the liberals' general secretary, dismissed Ms Merkel's warning. "The markets and the Greeks need clarity, you can't achieve that with a vow of silence," he said.

The Free Democrats were yesterday reported to be conducting a party-wide ballot of members to gain support for a motion which would exclude heavily indebted EU countries from the eurozone. Reflecting the mood among grass-roots liberals, Jürgen Koppelin, the party leader in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, said Greece was like an "alcoholic asked to give up drinking while being handed a crate of schnapps". Ms Merkel faces a crucial vote on a key plank of her economic plans on 29 September, and may rely on the votes of opposition MPs for it to pass. This could lead to a parliamentary vote of confidence in her administration which would almost certainly result in the collapse of her coalition.

Silvio's X-rated diplomacy

Not even her position as the world's most powerful woman has prevented German Chancellor Angela Merkel from becoming the victim of playboy premier Silvio Berlusconi's sexist language.

The gaffe-prone tycoon has been overheard referring to the German leader as an "unfuckable lard-arse", according to wiretaps reported by Italian newspapers. The offensive remark is the latest in a string of embarrassing revelations involving the 74-year-old Prime Minister, who three years ago caused a diplomatic incident by describing US President Barack Obama as "suntanned".

Investigators overheard the latest offending remarks during a wiretapped conversation between the premier and the man accused of supplying prostitutes to Mr Berlusconi's notorious parties in Rome and Sardinia. Italian newspapers have previously revealed salacious developments uncovered by investigating magistrates.

In the days before the taped conversation, German officials had been urging the Italian government to speed up its implementation of budget cuts.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas