Schaeuble snubs debt relief for Greece
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned Tuesday he opposed debt relief for Greece, a day after eurozone ministers agreed to consider the possibility in upcoming bailout talks.
“I honestly have no good argument to present German lawmakers or the German public opinion to whom I have a budgetary responsibility,” said Schaeuble, who is the most influential member of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers.
Speaking to journalists after talks with his EU counterparts, Schaeuble said that any discussion of Greek debt relief would be “about prestige, not substance”.
However he acknowledged the debate was now opened, but that Germany, the EUs biggest economy, had “good arguments” against easing Greece’s debt burden, which has already been reduced twice since the start of the debt crisis.
Last July, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras secured Greece’s third bailout in five years, worth 86 billion euros ($95 billion), but only in return of deep reforms.
However, in one of the few concessions handed to Greece, eurozone leaders agreed to also debate debt relief once key reforms pledges were met.
Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem on Monday said Greece had made enough headway in its reforms to soon begin that discussion.
Debt relief is a also a key demand of the IMF, which believes no economic program would be credible without it.
Complicating matters, Schaeuble and other eurozone hardliners firmly back the idea that the pro-austerity IMF take part in Greece’s current bailout.
The EU forecasts that Greece’s debt will soar to 185 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 – a level generally understood to be unsustainable.
You may be interested
Crete is the most popular holiday destination for BritsPanos - Jan 21, 2021
Crete is the most popular holiday destination for this year’s tourist season for the Brits, according to online searches made in…
Fastest Brand Growth in 2020 (infographic)Panos - Jan 21, 2021
2020 has been a pivotal year for various brands in the U.S. A new report of the fastest-growing brands shows…
Putin dips into freezing waters for Epiphany feastPanos - Jan 21, 2021
The Russian Orthodox Church celebrated the Epiphany on the night of January 18-19. Taking off his warm coat and under polar…