NEWS

Eurozone no longer obliged to save Greece, Merkel ally says

Eurozone politicians are not obliged to rescue Greece as the country is no longer of systemic importance to the single currency bloc, a senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party was quoted as saying.

In an interview with Rheinische Post newspaper published on Wednesday. Michael Fuchs also said Greek politicians could not now «blackmail» their partners in the currency bloc.

“If Alexis Tsipras of the Greek left party Syriza thinks he can cut back the reform efforts and austerity measures, then the

troika will have to cut back the credits for Greece,» he said.

«The times where we had to rescue Greece are over. There is

no potential for political blackmail anymore. Greece is no

longer of systemic importance for the euro.”

The remarks by are the clearest warning yet to Greek voters

from a senior German politician that Athens might lose support

if it flouts the terms of its 240 billion euro EU/IMF bailout

after early elections next year.

Fuchs, deputy parliamentary floor leader of Merkel’s

Christian Democrats, has frequently expressed frustrations felt

by many politicians and the German public about the pace of

reform and political hold ups in twice-rescued Greece.

Polls suggest that Syriza will emerge as the strongest party

in the Jan. 25 election, although its lead has narrowed. The

party wants to cancel austerity and a big chunk of national debt

but says it will keep Greece in the euro zone.

The head of Germany’s influential Ifo economic research

institute, Hans-Werner Sinn, meanwhile called a Greek exit from

the euro zone an option.

«Further debt cuts will be needed again and again, unless

the country is released from the euro zone and allowed to regain

its competitiveness by devaluation,» he told German daily

Tagesspiegel.

On Monday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned

Greece against straying from a path of economic reform, saying

any new government in Athens would be held to the pledges made

by the current government of premier Antonis Samaras.