ECONOMY

Greece on road to recovery, says Schaeuble

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday he was confident Greece was on the right path for recovery after tough decisions to secure a second bailout package.

However, he warned there could be no guarantee of success.

“I am confident the difficult measures decided with the government in Athens will put it on the road to recovery,» Schaeuble said in an interview in Sunday’s La Repubblica newspaper.

Greece averted the immediate threat of an uncontrolled default on Friday when private creditors agreed on a bond swap that will cut the country’s public debt and clear the way for a new 130-billion euro ($170.55 billion) bailout.

Schaeuble said he was sure the best decisions possible had been taken against a backdrop of uncertainty.

“But it wasn’t easy and I cannot give a 100 percent guarantee of success,» he said.

Schaeuble said the need for another aid package for Greece could not be ruled out, but said «it is not the time to speculate but to approve the second package for Athens.”

The austerity programmes did not create recession, he said, adding structural reforms were now needed to relaunch growth.

Schaeuble told To Vima newspaper is «ready to do whatever is asked» to help a tough economic overhaul applied in the struggling nation under close EU-IMF supervision. This includes sending German tax experts to improve Athens’ poor revenue collection.

“We are ready to do whatever is asked,» the German minister said.

“If Greece wants us to send German tax officials under an international programme to strengthen the Greek tax system, we are ready to do it.”

However, the minister rejected the idea that Germany wants control in Europe.

“But we do not want to be obtrusive. We do not want anyone to believe that we intend to place Greece under our occupation, that is one of the stupidest accusations I have ever read,» he said.

Schaeuble added that Berlin has «neither the inclination nor the strength to impose rule» over Europe, «the conclusion that we want to dominate in Europe is, honestly, sheer nonsense,» he said.

[Reuters