BERLIN (AP) — The leftwing opposition politician who was Germany's finance minister when the euro was adopted says it's time to think about abandoning the common currency in the wake of the enormous economic problems in southern Europe.

Oskar Lafontaine says on his website that struggling eurozone countries have not been able to devalue their currencies to help them cope with the economic crisis that has seen several slip into recession.

Lafontaine proposes a restructuring of Europe's banking system, stricter controls on lenders, and a return to the European monetary system that preceded the euro.

Lafontaine is now out of federal politics but is still an influential member of the Left Party, the successor to former East German communists.

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