Schaeuble: collapse of Greek talks 'predictable,' Athens never wanted reforms

TAGS: Euro, Politics

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose popularity in his country has skyrocketed following the hard line he has assumed opposite Greece, said in an interview with Germany's mass-circulation Bild published on Saturday that the collapse of negotiations with the Greek government was "predictable"  as Athens "doesn't want any reform program."

Those who were aware of Greece's financial situation and took the claims by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras seriously realized that the Greek government never wanted a program of reforms, Schaeuble told Bild.

"This is why I was always skeptical of the outcome of talks with the government in Athens," he said. "The fact that this skepticism was finally confirmed did not really surprise me."

Asked whether Greece should stay in the eurozone or not, Schaeuble said this was a question that "only Greeks can answer." "One thing is certain: we will not abandon the people of Greece," he said, without elaborating.

The contagion risk for European banks is "relatively small," he said, adding that European banking monitors were "observing the situation."