German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble acknowledged that Greece has made progress in reforms but, again, he rejected any talk on debt relief before 2018.
Despite the Greek government’s belief that creditors will negotiate debt easing measures before the end of the year, the finance minister of Greece’s biggest lender refuses to even discuss the issue.
Schaeuble gave an interview to Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper where he said that there is some progress in Greece’s bailout program but the country needs to remain in the reforms path and not digress from that.
The German finance minister said he is optimistic about the future of the European Union and the euro zone. He cited as proof the development in Spain, claimed that Italy is on the growth path and that France has made significant labor law reforms in the summer.
“The Greeks are also making progress – but they should not believe that they can stop to implement promised reforms,” he said. The German finance minister described as a “misunderstanding” the view that the International Monetary Fund involvement in the Greek lending program is uncertain because the debt is not sustainable. He denied that the German government is on a collision course with the IMF, which calls for drastic measures in order to make the Greek debt viable.
Schaeuble reiterated his position that debt relief talks will take place in 2018, after Greece has completed its third bailout program. He believes that debt relief talks would sidetrack Greece. “If we talk about debt relief now, this will weaken the Greeks’ willingness to reform. The debt itself is not the problem. The problem is Greece’s inability in administration and the lack of competitiveness. This is where they need to start.”
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