Schaeuble says everything better than Greece exit

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble vehemently rejected demands from conservative lawmakers on Tuesday that Greece should leave the euro zone, participants in the closed-door meeting told Reuters.

“Everything would be better than an exit,” Schaeuble was quoted telling members of parliament in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Chrisian Social Union (CSU).

Schaeuble and Klaus-Peter Flosbach, finance policy expert in parliament, dismissed the objections from euro-skeptic lawmakers such as Peter Gauweiler (CSU) and Peter Willsch (CDU), who had spoken out against financial aid for Greece.

Schaeuble and Volker Kauder, CDU parliamentary floor leader, also criticized Hans-Werner Sinn, president of the Ifo Institute, for his public suggestion for Greece to leave the euro zone.

They called the idea nonsense, participants told Reuters, because Greece’s euro debts would rise massively if a new, much weaker currency were introduced to replace the euro.

Schaeuble also told conservative members of parliament that there will be no decision on further aid for Greece before EU and IMF officials report on the implementation of its existing rescue plan.

Schaeuble also told the group of conservative deputies that it was conceivable that the assistance to Greece could involve extending loan repayment periods and cutting interest rates.

Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Ron Askew