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German Finance Minister’s Hard Line on Greece Gets Popular

Angela MerkelChancellor Angela Merkel’s suggestion that concessions should be made to retain Greece within the eurozone was greeted with discontented remarks at a closed-door parliamentary meeting held in Germany. However, Wolfgang Schauble’s hard line speech on the issue of Greece received a huge applause.

Nobert Barthle of the Christian Democratic Union said:

One could sense that she (Ms. Merkel) was prepared to do things that cause a certain amount of griping in the group. One could recognize a bit of a gap between the chancellery and the finance ministry—something that has never been the case before.

Germany has a hard line on Greece that reveals nothing about the differences of opinion between Schauble and Merkel, the most important personalities in Berlin. Although Chanceller Merkel will have the last say on the issue, Schauble’s tough stand on Greece and the wide approval it has received leaves her with not much of a choice.

Although 72-year-old Schauble has publicly stated that there will not be a Grexit, he has privately voiced concerns that no solution can be found to the crisis if Greece sticks to the eurozone. On the other hand, Merkel wants to give Greece another chance and be more flexible about the country’s debt and future bailout plans.

Sources close to Wolfgang Schauble say that he has developed a tougher stand on Greece because he is deeply involved in the way the eurozone has been responding to the Greek crisis, focusing on providing emergency funds to indebted countries and creating stricter financial rules.

Schauble is also highly discontented about the way negotiations with the former finance minister of Greece have turned out. During those negotiations, Schauble had stopped believing in Greece’s ability to successfully implement programs that may be agreed upon in the future.

The differences of opinion between Merkel are Schauble are quite understandable considering the fact that Schauble takes care of the financial well-being of the country while Merkel holds talks with world leaders and is more concerned about the impacts of a possible Grexit on the rest of the world. Schauble’s opinions, however, are getting popular in public as well as in parliament. According to a poll conducted by Infratest Dimap, his approval ratings of 70% are far greater than those of Merkel.

Several German economists are in support of Schauble’s opinions of the Greek issue. They say that a Grexit is better than agreeing to the demands of the indebted country.