(Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Interior Minister became the first member of her centre-right government to openly call for Greece to leave the euro zone in a magazine interview released on Saturday.
Hans-Peter Friedrich, a leader of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) that is the sister part of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), told Der Spiegel news magazine Greece's chances of restoring its fiscal health would be greater outside the euro.
While that has been the view of the Bavarian-based CSU and its chairman Horst Seehofer for months, Friedrich's comments nevertheless represented the first time a member of Merkel's cabinet had spoke openly about a Greek exit. Merkel has repeatedly spoken out against Greece leaving the euro zone.
Seehofer is the state premier of Bavaria and not in Merkel's cabinet.
"Greece's chances to regenerate itself and become more competitive are certainly greater outside the currency union than they are if it stays in the euro zone," Friedrich told the news weekly in comments released ahead of publication.
"I'm not saying that Greece should be thrown out but rather to create incentives that it can't say 'no' to," he added.
(Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum)