Wolfgang Schäuble; the all-powerful finance minister of Germany and staunch supporter of austerity in southern Europe and especially in Greece, is to leave his post after Sunday’s elections.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) announced that he will be nominated to become president of the German parliament.
Schäuble has been Germany’s finance minister since 2009, and under him it became one of the most powerful political positions in Europe.
Schäuble, 75, is very popular in Germany for his hard line stance against debt and deficits, but he has attracted rage elsewhere.
Particularly memorable were his fights in 2015 with Greece’s then finance minister; Yanis Varoufakis, who wanted debt relief for his beleaguered country.
Schäuble was against it—and remains so—and for a time seemed ready to let Greece crash out of the euro before making any compromises.
However; as some commentators point out, it’s premature for the Greek government to celebrate his departure from the international stage.
It is likely that he will be replaced by a senior figure from the liberal FDP.
The FDP has said it wants to change EU treaties to make it easier for member states to leave the euro, without losing their EU membership.
And before Greece’s government breathes a sigh of relief that Schäuble is out, the FDP leader told Politico earlier this year that Greece should be granted debt relief, on the condition that it is expelled from the euro temporarily until its economy recovers.