More austerity for more aid
Germany’s Schaeuble says Athens will have to take extra measures before getting additional funds
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said yesterday that Greece will have to carry out extra savings before more international aid is freed up, putting more pressure on Athens to introduce further austerity measures.
Greece might receive additional help if a quarterly assessment next month by European officials and the International Monetary Fund shows that the government’s savings pro- gram is falling short of targets agreed on last year, Schaeuble said in Berlin.
“If it turns out that Greece can’t return to the financial markets on the time line laid out last year, then we have to talk about what additional measures Greece, first and foremost, can take,” Schaeuble told lawmakers. “We won’t be able to agree to additional measures without clear conditions.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s gov- ernment, the largest contributor to victims of the sovereign debt crisis, is tamping down Greek expectations of a further bailout without strict terms in return.
Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday it stands ready to provide Greece with more aid if the country asks for it, according to the IMF’s European Department director, Antonio Borges.
Asked whether there could be a new aid package for Greece to help it work through its fiscal recovery program, Borges said the IMF was open to the possibility.
“The Greeks have to take the initiative, and so far they have not approached us. The IMF stands ready [to provide additional support] as a matter of policy,” he told reporters.
He said the austerity-dependent program for Greece was “probably the best thing that can happen” to the country, though there was always the question of whether it was too ambitious.
The Washington-based Fund’s views about Greece are being closely watched ahead of next month’s key decision on whether Athens receives the next 12-billion-euro tranche of its EU-IMF bailout.
Borges said the IMF believed that Greece was not bankrupt despite its high debts.