German Finance Minister skeptical about Greece

German Finance Minister skeptical about Greece

PanARMENIAN.Net - Giving Greece more time to carry out reforms and spending cuts won't resolve the debt-laden country's problems, Germany's Finance Minister said Thursday, Aug 23, a day before the Greek Prime Minister meets Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to The Associated Press.

Greek PM Antonis Samaras is seeking to earn his nation more time to complete reforms and hold on to bailout loans - without which Greece would be forced into a chaotic default on its debts and could be forced out of the 17-country eurozone.

Athens has faltered in the speed and effectiveness with which it has implemented the reforms, fuelling impatience among its creditors, notably Germany, which is the single largest contributor to its €240 billion ($300 billion) bailout packages. A pair of indecisive elections this year, which ultimately brought a coalition government under Samaras to power, didn't help.

Greece's continued access to those packages hinges on a favorable report next month from the so-called "troika" of the country's debt inspectors - the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. If Greece is found to have failed on key economic reforms that are conditions of the bailout loan, vital funds could be halted.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble kept up the pressure Thursday. He noted that it's only a few months since creditors drew up a second bailout package and agreed on a massive debt writedown for Greece.

"You cannot just say after half a year, all of that is not enough, because then you will never win the confidence of financial markets," Schaeuble said on Germany's SWR radio. "So more time is not a solution for the problems. The question is how we win back confidence."

Schaeuble insisted that he wouldn't speculate on what happens next before the troika delivers its report, but made clear his skepticism over Samaras' argument that giving Greece more time doesn't have to mean giving it more money.

The existing program for Greece "must be implemented, and in case of doubt more time means more money," he said. "And more money would require a new program."

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