BERLIN Jan 10 The euro zone should be split
into two with a strong cluster around Germany and a weak cluster
including France, the co-leader of Germany's far-right
Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Joerg Meuthen, said in a
"The euro is a seed of discord in Europe that has different
currency cultures and different competitiveness levels," Meuthen
The AfD has climbed to 15 percent in opinion polls ahead of
September's election, but no other party in Germany is willing
to form a coalition with it.
Meuthen, speaking by telephone, said the German economy
could suffer for a year or two in the wake of such a euro zone
"The euro is too strong for southern European countries
while for Germany and several others it's too weak," he said.
"It's conceivable that the weaker countries leave," he said,
mentioning Italy, Spain, Portugal and France. He said Greece is
so weak that no country wants to share a currency with it.
Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Finland should remain
in the core euro group, he said, even though a stronger currency
would hurt exports from those countries.
"That could cause an economic slump (in Germany)," he added.
"It's impossible to say how deep. But in my view the economic
slump would be over in about a year or two."
Meuthen distanced himself from a proposal from France's
far-right leader Marine Le Pen. She said that France should
leave the euro but shift to a new national currency accompanied
by a framework similar to the pre-euro era of the ECU.
"The euro exit shouldn't be linked to a fixed exchange rate
system," he said. "The currencies need to be able to breathe."
(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)