ECONOMY

Austria’s Schelling says Greek bailout can succeed amid support

austria-s-schelling-says-greek-bailout-can-succeed-amid-support

Austrian Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling said he’s confident Greece’s bailout program can succeed as political support for it is likely to extend beyond the country’s Sept. 20 elections.

The opposition parties that helped former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras pass Greece’s third aid package since 2010 will either be part of the country’s future government or continue to support the program, Schelling said in an interview Thursday in Alpbach, Austria. This shows that there’s “informal cooperation” between the different political groups, he said.

Tsipras had to rely on the conservative New Democracy, centrist To Potami and socialist PASOK parties when Greek lawmakers voted on Aug. 14 on a program intended to unlock as much as 86 billion euros ($96 billion) of aid. A week later, Tsipras called snap elections and recent polls show his SYRIZA party head-to-head with New Democracy.

“It made me confident that the opposition saves the government if it has no majority,” Schelling said. “I could hardly picture that in Austria.”

Latest comments by Christine Lagarde also show that the International Monetary Fund, which she heads, is likely to participate in Greece’s bailout, Schelling said. He said he expects the fund to take this decision in October or November.

The comments echo those made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said last month that she expects the IMF to participate in Greece’s bailout as creditors consider eased terms on the country’s earlier loans. [Bloomberg]