Austrian finance minister takes hard line with Greece

VIENNA – Austrian Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling took a hard line with Greece before debt talks with eurozone peers on Monday, saying Athens could not simply expect to get six months more time to work out a new rescue plan.

“I think it is a misjudgment by Greece. If you look at the repayment needs to which Greece committed itself again at the last meeting, then they need money too, not just time,” he said in an interview with Austria’s ORF radio.

Again ruling out any debt forgiveness for Greece, Schelling said slight tweaks to Greece’s bailout package could be discussed but no future program could be addressed before the current one is worked through. “One point everyone is underestimating is that Greece has to make the request and that is not yet on the table,” he said.