BERLIN (Reuters) - A leading lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc has described a Greek exit from the euro zone as a “great opportunity” for the country to bolster its economy, in the latest sign that German sentiment towards a so-called “Grexit” is shifting.
Peter Ramsauer, a former transport minister under Merkel and chairman of the economic affairs committee in the German parliament, wrote in top-selling German daily Bild on Monday that more muddling through with Greece made little sense.
Although no longer a member of the government, Ramsauer is arguably the most prominent politician in Merkel’s camp to come out in favour of Greece leaving the euro zone.
“By leaving the euro zone, as Finance Minister (Wolfgang) Schaeuble has suggested, the country could make itself competitive again from a currency perspective with a new drachma,” Ramsauer, a member of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), wrote in Bild.
“This would provide Greece with a great opportunity to renew itself economically and administratively, making itself fit again to return to the euro zone from a position of strength.”
Both Merkel and Schaeuble have said publicly that they do not want Greece to leave the single currency bloc.
But top officials in Berlin have grown increasingly sceptical about the new Greek government’s readiness to deliver on the reform pledges Germany believes are necessary to provide Athens with further financial support.
In a vote in parliament late last month, 29 lawmakers from Merkel’s camp rebelled and voted against an extension of Greece’s euro zone bailout - the largest number of conservatives to oppose such aid since the bloc’s crisis first erupted five years ago.
Reporting by Noah Barkin