Sideline Standoff German Politicians Renew Calls for Grexit

Greece’s debt crisis is back at the forefront in Germany, as senior politicians call for Athens to exit the euro amid IMF uncertainty.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is being accused by German politicians of not keeping promises.

Greece's role in the euro zone is being called into question again by policy-makers in Europe's biggest economy.

Several German politicians campaigning ahead of September's federal elections have made it clear that the southern European country should no longer take a seat at the bloc's bargaining table.

Those speaking out the loudest come from the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), which served as the junior coalition partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives from 2009 to 2013.

On Thursday, party leader Christian Lindner told German radio station Deutschlandfunk that Greece could stay in the European Union, but should be ordered to leave the union's single currency.

"It's clear that Greece needs to have its debts written off," Mr. Lindner said. "Greece's debts can only be written off outside of the euro zone, so we're talking about Grexit."

He accused Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of not intending to implement agreed reforms, and declared the need for a new strategy.

Alexander Graf-Lambsdorff, another German FDP member and vice president of the European Parliament, also called for "a gradual transition towards a national currency" to be put into motion for Greece "as soon as possible."

"Now it’s about time to straighten things up,” he told the regional daily newspaper Heilbronner Stimme on Wednesday.

Calls from the FDP, which is expected to garner just 5 to 7 percent of the vote according to recent polls cited by Reuters, are bolstered by further pressure from German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Since the dawn of the debt crisis, it's been no secret that Mr. Schäuble has previously pushed for showdowns with Athens likely with the prospect of a Grexit in mind.

The latest talk of Grexit comes amid the International Monetary Fund's suggestion it would drop out of Greece's latest €86 billion bailout, granted in July 2015, unless the government gets its finances into better shape.

The IMF wants to see Athens make further reforms before replenishing its coffers. Without a new injection of cash, Greece will fail to make its next bailout repayment of €7 billion by the deadline in July.