Germany’s Schäuble ‘very sceptical’ about Greek debt talks

Germany’s Finance Minister not optimistic about a debt agreement

Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister, left, looks towards Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister, during a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, earlier this month. On Monday Mr Schaeuble said he was “very sceptical” about prospects for a debt agreement with Greece. (Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister, left, looks towards Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s finance minister, during a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, earlier this month. On Monday Mr Schaeuble said he was “very sceptical” about prospects for a debt agreement with Greece. (Photograph: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

 

Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said in a radio interview on Monday that he was not very optimistic that Greece and its euro zone partners would reach a debt agreement at a meeting in Brussels later in the day.

Asked if the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers would find a solution for Greece’s debt problems, Schäuble told Deutschlandfunk: “From what I’ve heard about the technical talks over the weekend, I’m very sceptical, but we will get a report today and then we’ll see.”

Schäuble said Germany did not want Greece ot leave the euro zone, but that the new government in Athens had to fulfil the core conditions of its bailout programme and that it was not about finding a compromise deal “just for the sake of a compromise”.

“The problem is that Greece has lived beyond its means for a long time and that nobody wants to give Greece money anymore without guarantees,” Schäuble said, noting that Athens had to stick to agreed reforms to become competitive.

Schaeuble added that the new Greek government was behaving “quite irresponsibly” right now and that it was no help to insult others who have supported the country in the past.

A Greek leftist newspaper close to the ruling party in Athens published a cartoon last week which showed Schäuble in a Nazi uniform. He is quoted saying “we insist on soap from your fat” and “we are discussing fertilizer from your ashes”, references to the fate of Jews in Nazi death camps.

In a separate interview with German broadcaster ZDF, Austria’s finance minister Hans-Joerg Schelling said the new Greek government still appeared to be in “election mode not working mode”. Greece’s finance minister meets his euro zone peers and ECB President Mario Draghi on Monday to discuss how to proceed with his country’s bailout programme, which runs out on February 28th.