Rebel conservative tells Angela Merkel: Greek euro exit inevitable by next year

 

Berlin

Chancellor Angela Merkel attempted to face down a dispute within her coalition over her handling of the euro crisis yesterday after a rebel conservative leader insisted that there was "no way around" a Greek exit from the eurozone by next year at the latest.

The inflammatory remark was made by Alexander Dobrindt, the leader of the Bavarian wing of Germany's governing conservatives which is becoming increasingly critical of what its leading members claim is Ms Merkel's pandering to Athens.

Last week, Bavaria's conservative Finance Minister argued that more funding for Athens was like "pouring water on a desert" and demanded that Greece be "made an example of" and banished from the eurozone.

Mr Dobrindt told the Bild newspaper that, despite Ms Merkel's efforts, he saw " no way round" a Greek exit.

"I see Greece outside the eurozone in 2013," he said, adding that the country would get back on its feet more quickly by reintroducing the drachma. He also described Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, as "Europe's currency forger". His comments were a direct provocation to Ms Merkel, who publicly reassured the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at a meeting in Berlin last week that "no one" in her government wanted Greece to leave the eurozone.

In an attempt to face down mounting public dissatisfaction and growing criticism from within her own ranks over her handling of the euro crisis, Ms Merkel appeared on television on Sunday and warned politicians to "weigh their words carefully".

She added: "At the moment we have reached a very decisive phase in combating the euro debt crisis."

Ms Merkel's stand was backed by several of her conservative allies yesterday.

Guido Westerwelle, Germany's liberal Free Democrat Foreign Minister, called for the "bullying" of Greece to stop. "We are not living up to our responsibilities to Europe and the euro," he said.

The row was the latest in a series of embarrassing political disputes over Europe which Ms Merkel has had to weather since returning from holiday at the beginning of August.

The German Chancellor faces a general election next year and the combination of public discontent over the euro crisis and sniping over the issue from with her own ranks is beginning to erode her credibility.

Meanwhile, divisions over the European Central Bank's response to the euro crisis emerged yesterday after Jens Weidmann, the head of the German Bundesbank, criticised Mr Draghi's plan for the ECB to buy the bonds of ailing eurozone countries like Italy and Spain to help them lower their borrowing costs.

Mr Weidmann, who is one of the 17 eurozone bank chiefs involved in ECB policy, described the plan as "close to state financing via the printing press" and said it risked making ECB funding "addictive like a drug" for struggling eurozone governments.

Mr Draghi is expected to provide more details about his plan early next month after a meeting of the ECB's governing council.

Ms Merkel has insisted that no final decisions about Greece will be taken until after a crucial report on its finances next month.

It will be delivered by the so-called "troika" assessing Athens' fulfilment of bailout conditions – the ECB, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission.

Greece, meanwhile, is trying to finalise a package of spending cuts to qualify for further bailout funding. Last week, Mr Samaras stressed that Greece was not seeking additional funds as it seeks to bring its economy back on track.

"We're not asking for more money," he said following his meeting with Ms Merkel in Berlin.

"We're asking for breaths of air in this dive we are taking."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory