The head of one of Angela Merkel's coalition partners contradicted Saturday one of her tenets on the euro, saying that the EU would be fine if a country dropped the currency.
Horst Seehofer, leader of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio that he did not agree with Merkel's statement If the euro fails, Europe fails.
There are many healthy economies in Europe that do not have the euro, and Europe works nonetheless, he said in a transcript of the interview. Great Britain is an example.
Turning to Greece, arguably the worst-off member in the euro zone, Seehofer said that the country's small size meant that its withdrawal from the currency bloc would not bring economic side effects strong enough to harm Europe.
I am not proposing it, but if Greece did leave, it would not bring damage and destruction to European integration, he said.
Despite warnings by the head of Europe's current bailout fund, Klaus Regling, Seehofer said that his party continued to insist that the euro zone should be able to eject member states that repeatedly breach debt rules.
Kicking them out may be a rather crude term, but removal must be possible as a last resort. This has been our position for months.
(Reporting by Brian Rohan; editing by Ron Askew)