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[BERLIN] A senior lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies said he saw no majority in the conservative parliamentary group for another bailout package for Greece, suggesting German opinion against Athens's future in the euro is hardening.
The comments by Peter Ramsauer, deputy leader of the CSU conservatives, were the latest sign that Germany's ruling coalition was losing patience with Greece after the landslide rejection of European bailout terms in a Greek referendum.
Greece had a midnight deadline on Friday to submit a reform plan meant to convince European partners to give it another loan to save it from an imminent economic meltdown and possible exit from the euro zone. "I currently see no majority in the conservative parliamentary group for further aid to Greece worth billions of euros," Mr Ramsauer said in an interview with the Passauer Neue Presse daily published on Friday.
Even if Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was to improve his reform proposals, they would lack credibility, according to Mr Ramsauer, a former transport minister under Ms Merkel and chairman of the economic affairs committee in the German parliament. "Where there is no will, there is no way," Mr Ramsauer said, alluding to Greece's leftist government, adding that he did not expect a deal in the last-ditch Greek debt talks at the weekend. "An exit from the euro zone, a Grexit, would be the right way," he said, adding that any extension of negotiations with Athens would amount only to delaying a bankruptcy.
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), junior partner in Ms Merkel's ruling coalition, has said Greece needs to improve on its previous proposals.
The increasingly strong rhetoric from the centre-left SPD leader, along with the uncompromising stance of Ms Merkel's own conservatives, leaves the chancellor little room for manoeuvre in any new talks with Mr Tsipras.
On Thursday, however, Germany conceded Greece would need some debt restructuring as part of any new loan programme to make its economy viable as the Greek cabinet raced to finalise reform proposals by the midnight deadline.
Read more on the Greek crisis here