ECONOMY

Schaeuble says Europe won’t turn its back on Greece

Europe will not turn its back on Greece and the assumption of the rotating European Union presidency offers Athens a great opportunity, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday.

In a pre-release of an interview to be published in the mass-circulation daily Bild on Tuesday, Schaeuble said, “The presidency will show the Greek people that Europe is its future.”

The responsibility of taking over the EU presidency “generates identity, self-confidence, pride. The Greek EU presidency is a huge opportunity for the country and for Europe,” Schaeuble said.

The German minister rejected suggestions that Athens could use its term as the bloc’s president to ease the pressure on bailed-out Greece to reform, saying that the task of overseeing reforms lay primarily in the hands of the so-called troika made up of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Schaeuble also ruled out any new writedown of Greece’s debt, but hinted at the possible provision of further aid.

“We’ll decide in the middle of the year if we have to help Greece still further. If the country sticks to its course of reforms, if it fulfils the necessary conditions, we won’t turn our back on it,” Schaeuble said. [AFP]