Schaeuble Says No Reason to Quit Over Greece After Deal

Angela Merkel And Wolfgang Schaeuble
Angela Merkel sits beside Wolfgang Schaeuble during a debate in the lower-house of the Bundestag in Berlin on July 17. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble signaled in a magazine interview that he and Chancellor Angela Merkel have differed over aid to Greece and that he’d offer to quit if he concluded he no longer had a say in her government.

Asked by Der Spiegel whether he was considering resigning, Schaeuble was quoted as saying: “No, where did you get that idea?”

“Politicians have responsibilities that derive from their posts,” Schaeuble was cited as saying. “No one can force them. If someone were to try that, I could go to the federal president and tender my resignation.”

While Merkel has avoided mentioning the possibility of Greece’s leaving the euro, Schaeuble has raised the specter since Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took office on an anti-austerity platform in January. In a position paper floated before marathon talks yielded a euro-area deal on July 13, Germany’s Finance Ministry suggested suspending Greece from the euro for five years.

On Friday, German lawmakers backed the accord with Tsipras to seek a third Greek bailout and keep the country in the euro after Merkel and Schaeuble both urged them to give negotiations a chance.

A Finance Ministry spokesman in Berlin declined to comment on the Spiegel interview when contacted by Bloomberg.

“The chancellor and I don’t play roles,” Schaeuble was quoted as saying. “That’s not the chancellor’s style, nor is it mine. Each of us has our convictions.”

Schaeuble, 72, has been Merkel’s finance minister throughout the debt crisis that spread from Greece in 2010. He’s also held a seat in parliament for 42 years, making him Germany’s longest-serving lawmaker. Schaeuble preceded Merkel, 61, as head of their Christian Democratic Union before he resigned in 2000 during a party financing scandal.

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