Greece Might Be Better Off Outside Eurozone, German Finance Minister Says

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, said on Thursday that a temporary Greek exit from the eurozone could give Greece the flexibility it needs to reduce its debt load.

Credit
Ralph Orlowski/Reuters

BERLIN — Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, suggested on Thursday that Greece might be better off leaving the euro, saying that a temporary exit from the common currency could give the country additional flexibility to reduce its crippling debt load.

It was the second time this week that Mr. Schäuble has raised the idea in public. His statement, in a radio interview, came just hours after the Greek Parliament reluctantly approved a package of economic policy changes, demanded by Germany and other creditors, intended to allow Greece to remain in the eurozone and to qualify for a new round of bailout financing.

Mr. Schäuble’s statements, a day before the German legislature is expected to approve negotiations on the new Greek bailout, highlighted the continuing debate in Germany about the best path toward resolving the crisis.

It also gave further credence to assertions by some Greek officials that Mr. Schäuble wanted Greece out of the eurozone all along, and underscored the divisions in Europe and beyond over whether Greece can recover from its long economic crisis without a substantial reduction in its debt.

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