Greece’s bailout program will proceed as planned, eurozone financial leaders said Monday, shrugging off concerns that the new German government may harden its stance on the aid plan and debt relief for Athens.
After German elections in September, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party will start talks next week to form a coalition government with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), whose leader has criticized outgoing Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble for not being tough enough on Greece.
The head of eurozone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said the agreement on the Greek 86-billion-euro bailout was “solid” and could not be changed by new governments. “Individual elections in individual countries cannot change the program,” Dijsselbloem told reporters on his arrival at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg.
Greece is expected to implement a number of belt-tightening reforms agreed with eurozone creditors by the end of the year, before it can exit the bailout program, the third since 2010, in August. But differences between Athens and eurozone negotiators on reforms have often delayed so-called “reviews” of the Greek program that are necessary for the disbursement of subsequent loan tranches to Greece.
“I‘m very confident that Germany […] will remain a decisive pro-European partner,” the EU economics commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, told reporters. “I‘m quite sure we will find solutions in Greece as we did in the past,” he said. “We must concentrate on the essential and the essential is not this or that political comment about this or that political coalition.” [Reuters]