28/08/2013 05:10 BST

Angela Merkel Says Letting Greece Join Euro Was 'Fundamentally Wrong'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends her first cabinet meeting after her summer vacation at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013. Chancellor Merkel and her ruling coalition of the Christian parties and the Free democrats faces national elections on Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Angela Merkel has admitted that Greece should never have been allowed to join the euro back in 2001, criticising her predecessor Gerard Schroeder's "wrong" decision as one of the "starting points" for the eurozone's current economic strife.

Speaking at an election rally, the German chancellor said: "Chancellor Schroeder accepted Greece in and weakened the Stability Pact and both decisions were fundamentally wrong, and one of the starting points for our current troubles."

Merkel's comments to supporters come weeks before German voters go to the polls in a federal election on September 22.

Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the Greece would need a third bailout.

The debt-ridden nation has already been supported with €240 billion in two bailout loans from the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Merkel made clear that she wished to see a strong eurozone, which would require reforms in countries like Greece.

"[A unified euro area] is such a treasure, such a boon, that we can’t place it in doubt,” she said. "That’s why the euro is more than a currency. For this reason we’ve shown solidarity, but solidarity always linked to responsibility for reforms in those countries that experience our solidarity."