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German minister criticizes Schaeuble's idea that Greece take a "timeout" from eurozone

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, right, talk during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Friday, July 17, 2015. Merkel urged German lawmakers Friday to vote in favor of a third bailout package for Greece, arguing that the cash-strapped country faces chaos without a deal. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, right, talk during a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Friday, July 17, 2015. Merkel urged German lawmakers Friday to vote in favor of a third bailout package for Greece, arguing that the cash-strapped country faces chaos without a deal. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

  • German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble gestures during his speech as part of a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Friday, July 17, 2015. German lawmakers will vote on a third bailout package for Greece later on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble gestures during his speech as part of a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Friday, July 17, 2015. German lawmakers will vote on a third bailout package for Greece later on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

  • German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble gestures during his speech as part of a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Friday, July 17, 2015. German lawmakers will vote on a third bailout package for Greece later on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble gestures during his speech as part of a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Friday, July 17, 2015. German lawmakers will vote on a third bailout package for Greece later on Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

Germany's vice chancellor is criticizing the country's finance minister for suggesting that Greece could take a five-year "timeout" from the shared euro currency to address its financial problems.

Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany's economy minister, said on ZDF television Sunday "it wasn't prudent to make this suggestion as a German suggestion," the dpa news agency reported.

He added that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also knew Gabriel's junior government coalition partner, the Social Democrats, would only talk of a Greek exit "if that's what the Greeks want themselves."

Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a softer stance than Schaeuble, but in an interview in Der Spiegel magazine, the finance minister downplayed their differences. Schaeuble says "we're not always of the same opinion but we're on the same path."