Schaeuble prod comes as focus turns to reforms

The German Finance Ministry on Monday sought to play down comments by Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble that Greece would require a third bailout but, coming amid rising pressure by the troika for Greek authorities to enforce reforms, Schaeuble’s comments were seen as a prod in the same direction.

A spokeswoman for the ministry in Berlin insisted Monday that Schaeuble had said “nothing new” and that it would be up to Greece whether it would seek further loans. But a statement issued a few hours earlier by the Finance Ministry in Athens suggested that the government, which has insisted that Greece will not need a third bailout, had taken the comments by Schaeuble seriously. The ministry said Greece is fully funded until the summer of 2015 and that its financing needs from mid-2015 to 2016 would “depend to a great degree” on the results of stress tests on banks due in the fall.

Government officials are examining reforms that must be enforced ahead of a Eurogroup summit on June 19 where a 1-billion-euro tranche of funding is to be approved. They include the abolition of third-party taxes, the completion of new zoning laws, and the finalization of a plan for collecting unpaid taxes.

“There is no scope for going back on what has been agreed.” a European Commission official told Kathimerini.