BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s finance minister says his country will do everything it can to keep Greece in the eurozone under “justifiable conditions.”
Eurozone finance ministers will meet on Monday amid slow-moving talks on a deal with Greece’s creditors.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in an interview published Sunday that he doesn’t think “everything will be cleared up by then.” The atmosphere has improved in the talks but there hasn’t been much substantial movement, he said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel “knows that we must do everything to keep Greece in the eurozone under justifiable conditions,” Schaeuble said. “It must not fail because of us.”
Greece needs an agreement within weeks as it is running out of cash. The current talks are intended to clear the release by creditors of the final 7.2 billion euro ($8.1 billion) installment of Greece’s 240 billion euro bailout. Germany is the largest single contributor to the bailout.
Schaeuble was quoted as saying that there may be “a misunderstanding on the Greek side in the negotiations: This is not about setting up a new reform program. It is about fulfilling the current program.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said that he doesn’t want a further aid package, Schaeuble noted.
“I myself have said that … if Greece fulfills all its obligations and still needs further help, we will consider a third program,” he said. “But the conditions are far from being fulfilled.”
Schaeuble said he doesn’t have a clear picture of Greece’s finances and he isn’t sure whether the Greek government has a precise one either.
“Such processes also have irrational elements,” he said. “Experiences elsewhere in the world have shown that a country can suddenly slip into insolvency.”
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