Schaeuble says up to Greece to decide on capital controls

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said it was up to the government in Athens to decide whether Greece needed to introduce capital controls, according to an advanced copy of an interview in Die Zeit weekly published on Wednesday.

He also dismissed the idea that Germany’s tough stance in the euro zone crisis was to blame for Greece’s woes.

“In most of the other member states things are improving due to the low oil price and the weak euro. But not in Greece. The German government is not too blame for everything,” he said.

Asked whether it would be realistic for Greece to limit capital flows, Schaeuble said: “I want to say only so much on this: the decision about capital controls rests with member states alone.”

Shut out of bond markets and with bailout aid locked, Greece is running out of cash to pay its bills.

Greek officials have frequently threatened to default in recent weeks, arguing the country does not have cash, which euro zone officials have dismissed as a negotiating tactic to raise pressure on creditors to disburse aid.

Adding pressure on the government, prominent opposition lawmaker Dora Bakoyianni has said the country could be forced into capital controls to stem deposit outflows if it did not reach a deal for aid with the government this week.

Schaeuble defended the decision of Greece’s partners to disburse further aid only in return for economic reforms.

“That is the philosophy of the rescue program. The new government is saying: we want to keep the euro but we don’t want the program any more. That doesn’t fit together,” he said. [Reuters]

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