Schaeuble says would regret but accept any eurozone exit
(BERLIN) - Germany's finance minister said here on Tuesday it would be regrettable if a country decided to leave the eurozone or EU but that its partners would be forced to accept the fact.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble pointed out that the 17-member eurozone and 27-strong European Union were based on various principles, which included freedom, a constitutional state and non-discrimination.
"If a country were to decide to leave them, it's something we would regret but which it would be necessary to accept in accordance with these principles," he told reporters.
The minister was questioned in particular about debt-stricken Greece. German lawmakers on Monday widely endorsed a second, 130-billion-euro ($175-billion) rescue package from the eurozone and International Monetary Fund for Athens.
His comments follow those by German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich in Der Spiegel news weekly that Greece would stand a better chance of becoming competitive outside the eurozone.
Although he stressed he did not mean that Greece should be kicked out of the eurozone, he said Greece should be given "incentives" to exit, causing a stirr in the government which advocates solidarity with Athens and keeping it inside the bloc.
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