Greece must stick to timetable to get funds, says German minister

Greece must stick to timetable to get funds, says German minister

The Greek government must stick to the time schedule agreed with its creditors to receive all tranches of its planned third bailout, German deputy Finance Minister Jens Spahn said in an interview published on Friday.

Asked whether the bailout was a bluff package given that the creditors had already shown some leniency toward Greece on budget targets and some reform projects had been postponed, Spahn told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper: "The timetable must be adhered to. That must be binding."

"The 86 billion euros in aid will only be paid out gradually over the next three years. For that the implementation will be continually monitored and payments will also depend on successes," the Passau daily quoted him as saying.

Asked why things should be different this time given that the government in Athens had not implemented reforms in the past, Spahn said Greece now realized that they could only remain members of the euro zone if they were prepared to reform.

Spahn said it had become clear in recent weeks that the Greek government was prepared to carry out reforms and negotiations had been constructive but he said there were still some outstanding questions on the third aid package.

He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) needed to remain involved in Greece's financial rescue and "a clear commitment" was needed to this end, while the design of Greece's privatization fund was another important issue.

Spahn said that if Athens implemented the conditions set by its creditors, he would encourage conservatives – who are ruling in coalition with the Social Democrats – in the German parliament to approve the bailout in a vote the Bundestag must hold on the issue.

"That would be a real chance for Greece to start moving toward economic growth again within the euro zone," he said.

He played down divisions in Germany's coalition government over the draft bailout agreement between Greece and its international lenders: "The German government received a commission from the German Bundestag that sets out clear conditions. There is agreement in the government on that."

On Wednesday the German finance ministry criticized the draft accord as showing "no full clarity on the direction of policies" but the economy ministry took a positive view on the memorandum of understanding (MoU).


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