BERLIN, June 17 German Foreign Minister Guido
Westerwelle signalled on Sunday that Greece could get small
concessions from the euro zone over its painful bailout
programme but nothing like a full renegotiation.
Speaking after exit polls showed Greece's election was too
close to call, with the conservative New Democracy party barely
ahead of radical leftist SYRIZA, Westerwelle said a 130 billion
euro bailout package could not be torn up but more time could be
granted to meet its terms.
"There can't be substantial changes to the agreements but I
can imagine that we would talk about the time axes once again,
given that in reality there was political standstill in Greece
because of the elections, which the normal citizens shouldn't
have to suffer from," Westerwelle said on German TV station ARD.
"But there is no way out of the reforms. Greece must stick
to what has been agreed. If we said to Greece, no matter what we
agreed, it doesn't matter anymore, then we would get a problem
with all the other European countries that are diligently and
persistently implementing their reforms."
Under the current rules Greece must cut its budget deficit
to below 3 percent of GDP in 2014. Antonis Samaras, leader of
pro-bailout New Democracy party, has called for two years' more
to meet the targets.
SYRIZA says the whole deal must be ripped up.
Spain is set to be granted an extra year to meet its deficit
target, with Germany's blessing.
Euro zone officials have said the currency bloc will not rip
up the main targets of Greece's bailout no matter who wins
Sunday's elections, but it might consider giving a new
government in Athens some leeway on how it reaches them.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Greece would have
to stick to the programme.
"That's why it's so important that the Greek elections
preferably lead to a result in which those that will form a
future government say: 'yes, we will stick to the agreements',"
Merkel said on Saturday.