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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has charged, a month before elections, that struggling Greece should never have been allowed into the eurozone, blaming her political rivals for letting it happen.
She heaped blame for Europe's debt and recession troubles on her centre-left opponents, saying that while in government, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) had contributed to creating the causes of the crisis.
"The crisis emerged over many years, through founding errors in the euro -- for example, Greece should not have been admitted into the euro area," Merkel said to scattered applause at a campaign event Tuesday in the northern town of Rendsburg, footage from news channel ntv showed.
The conservative leader reiterated that her predecessor, SPD chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, had in 2001 consented to Greece's entry and to weakening the currency bloc's stability pact, decisions she labelled "fundamentally wrong".
Last Saturday, on her whirlwind campaign tour, she also attacked the SPD, saying: "We don't need to be told by the people who admitted Greece into the euro-area that today we have problems with Greece."
The eurozone crisis and the bill German taxpayers may have to foot for it have become divisive issues in an otherwise lacklustre campaign ahead of the September 22 vote, in which Merkel remains the favourite to lead the next government.