In a rare outburst, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Greece should never have been allowed to join the single currency.
Speaking at a rally ahead of elections on September 22, Merkel told a crowd of around 1,000 German voters that the debt crisis in Greece had been "brewing for many years" and blamed her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, from the rival social democrat party for letting Greece join the euro.
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"Chancellor Schroeder accepted Greece in and weakened the Stability Pact and both decisions were fundamentally wrong, and one of the starting points for our current troubles," media reports cited Merkel as saying at the campaign rally in the north German town of Randsburg on Tuesday.
Her comments come after the Social Democratic (SPD) party ramped up its criticism of Merkel and her handling of Greece after the country received two bailouts worth 240 billion euros ($321 billion) and reportedly needs a third to plug an imminent funding gap.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Tuesday that estimates by the international Monetary Fund (IMF) that Greece needs a further 11 billion euros were "not completely unrealistic."