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Schaeuble considers new austerity measures at end of Greek program in 2018

Greece struggles to reach a deal at the Eurogroup meeting on Monday, May 22 2017. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he hoped for a political agreement on Monday’s Eurogroup. However, the deal the German minister hopes to happen is not just the deal Greece and the International Monetary Fund want. Schaeuble speaks of the disbursement of the 7-billion-euro bailout tranche, Greece and the IMF speak of debt relief measures.

A agreement would allow the eurozone governments to pay out the next tranche of loans to Greece.

“I hope that we find a solution today which concludes things politically,” Schaeuble told reporters upon his arrival to the Eurogroup meeting.

He said the finalisation of an agreement on Greece would have to wait for a report on whether the country has implemented all the agreed reforms, the so-called compliance report, which euro zone officials said was positive.

“In general we are so far that we have, in line with what we agreed in May of last year, a political conclusion to create the conditions to pay the second tranche on time,” Schaeuble said.

He noted that talks with the International Monetary Fund, which Germany wants to bring into the Greek bailout, but which demands debt relief for Greece, would be difficult.”The IMF has a debt sustainability analysis that cannot be brought in line with the European institutions,” Schaeuble said.

“That is why we have to see how we can find a solution with the IMF, so that the IMF can be part of the programme without breaching its rules. That will be one of the difficult issues, we have had many preparatory talks, but I’m confident we can find a solution,” he said.

Earlier, Schaeuble had described reforms agreed by Greece as “remarkable” but said the Greek economy was not yet competitive and that Athens must press ahead with implementing its existing reforms-for-aid program.

“We are not talking about a new program but the implementation of the program agreed in 2015,” Schaeuble said.

At the end of the program, in 2018, we will, if necessary, put in place additional measures that we have defined,” Schaeuble said adding “It is about one goal – namely to help Greece become competitive. Greece is not there yet.”

European commissioner in charge of Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said a deal on Greece is “doable, possible, near”, Reuters has reported.

And Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem had underlined: there is a deal today but not THE Deal.

A decision on debt relief for Greece will only be taken at the end of the bailout in mid-2018, but euro zone finance ministers may agree already on Monday to release new loans to Athens, the chairman of the ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem said.

“I expect and I’m working on a deal today, but it will not be the end deal. We have always said that the final, concrete decision on extra debt relief measures will come at the end of the programme, which is next year,” he told reporters.

PS When we have Schaeuble’s words, Moscovici’s or Dijsselbloem’s statement don’t matter.

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One comment

  1. Κακό σκυλί ψόφο δεν έχει. This guy is unbelievable. But even more unbelievable is the attitude of some German “liberal” friends of mine. They don’t like Merkel and Schaeuble. They find their politics unpalatable…except when it comes to Greece. In that particular case, the same people who loudly claim to embrace principled policies and firmly support all kinds of liberal positions when it comes to LGBT rights, the rights of indigenous people, the rights of whales and dolphin et al, take up and champion the most racists, essentialist view about Greece and the Greeks (tax evading, lazy, sex starved degenerates who steal from hard working Europeans). In my mind, this clearly shows how deep the rot has gone in Europe.