Influential German magazine calls for Greek exit from euro

BERLIN Sun May 13, 2012 9:59am EDT

BERLIN (Reuters) - "Acropolis, Adieu! Why Greece must leave the euro," reads the front-page headline of Germany's most influential magazine Der Spiegel, joining a chorus of voices in Europe's paymaster country suggesting an exit may now be the best option.

In a sign Germany is coming to terms with a possible Greek departure, senior players in both business and political communities said this week the euro zone could survive without Greece because the bloc is now more resilient to shocks.

But Der Spiegel, one of Germany's most respected news outlets, went one step further, arguing a Greek exit was the only way forwards now. Its front page depicted a splintered euro coin strewn across ancient Greek ruins at dusk.

"Despite all the skepticism, our editors have until now pleaded for Athens to remain in the euro zone," Der Spiegel wrote in its editorial column. "Since the parliamentary elections at the beginning of May, Spiegel observers have changed their opinion."

Greece tumbled into turmoil after a general election boosted far-left and far-right groups, stripping mainstream parties, which back a painful European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout, of their parliamentary majority.

"The Greeks were never ripe for the currency union and they still are not today. The attempt to make the country sustainable healthy through reforms has failed," Spiegel journalists wrote in their in-depth report on Greece.

"In the meantime it is clear that the exit is in their own interest... Only an exit of Greece from the euro zone gives the country a chance in the long term to get back on its feet."

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was quoted in the media on Sunday as saying that he could not force Greece to remain within the currency bloc although he hoped it would.

Many European countries seem to be coming to terms with the possibility of a Greek exit. Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann was quoted as saying he also did not wish for a Greek exit but "in theory, a lot is imaginable".

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