Angela Merkel tried to calm a growing storm over euro zone crisis strategy on Sunday after the Bundesbank likened ECB bond-buying plans to a dangerous drug and a conservative ally of the German leader said Greece should leave the currency bloc by next year.
Dobrindt, whose party is preparing for a regional election in Bavaria and the federal vote next autumn, told top-selling German daily Bild he expected Greece to leave the euro zone in 2013. His comments drew a swift rebuke from Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle who said «bullying» of euro members must stop, Reuters reported.
«We are in a very decisive phase in combating the euro debt crisis,» Merkel told public broadcaster ARD in an interview. «My plea is that everyone weigh their words very carefully.»
Merkel said she had come away from her talks with Samaras convinced that he was serious about the Greek reform drive, but made clear that the pressure on Athens was extremely high. «Every day counts,» she said.
But Germany’s finance and economy ministers both reaffirmed their opposition to any easing of the timeframe for Greece, stressing that giving it more time would mean giving it more money. Samaras has said he needs more time but not more cash.
No final decisions on Greece are expected before the troika delivers its report in October.
In addition to Greece, policymakers have been sparring over European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s plans to buy up the bonds of Spain and Italy.
Merkel reiterated in the ARD interview that she believed the ECB’s policies were in line with its mandate to ensure stable prices in the bloc.
But Weidmann, a former economic adviser to Merkel, said in a front-page interview in influential German magazine Der Spiegel that the bond buys could violate rules against the ECB providing outright financing to governments. «In democracies, it is parliaments and not central banks that should decide on such a comprehensive pooling of risks,» he said.
«We should not underestimate the risk that central bank financing can become addictive like a drug,» Weidmann said.
Dobrindt was more direct, saying Draghi risked passing into the history books as the «currency forger of Europe».
Meanwhile, support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives has nudged higher one percent at 36 percent but their junior coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), down one point at 4 percent, below the 5 percent threshold for entering parliament. The Pirates, an upstart party which has won seats in regional elections over the past year, also lost one percentage point to 7 percent.
If this tally were repeated in next year’s national election and the FDP failed to win seats in the Bundestag lower house, Merkel would most likely end up forging a grand coalition with the SPD as happened in 2005-09, experts say.