December 20, 2016 / 9:55 AM / 7 months ago

German Fin Min tells paper euro zone will fall apart if don't follow rules

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German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, December 14, 2016.Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, asked about Greece's plans to pay pensioners a Christmas bonus while it is in the midst of a bailout programme, told Die Zeit paper that the euro zone would fall apart if countries did not stick to the rules.

Schaeuble, who has long taken a tough line on Greece, said the European Commission, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rescue fund had been asked for their view as to whether the step conformed to its obligations.

"The initial answer is no. If we don't stick to the rules, the euro zone will fall apart," he told Die Zeit, adding that the construction of the currency union had to be changed.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Michelle Martin

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