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Germany's Schaeuble hopes for a deal on Greece on Monday
May 22, 2017 / 12:55 PM / 4 months ago

Germany's Schaeuble hopes for a deal on Greece on Monday

BRUSSELS, May 22 (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he hoped for a political agreement on Monday that would allow euro zone governments to pay out the next tranche of loans to Greece.

“I hope that we find a solution today which concludes things politically,” Schaeuble told reporters on entering a meeting of euro zone finance ministers devoted mainly to Greece.

He said the finalisation of an agreement on Greece would have to wait for a report on whether the country has implemented all the agreed reforms, the so-called compliance report, which euro zone officials said was positive.

“In general we are so far that we have, in line with what we agreed in May of last year, a political conclusion to create the conditions to pay the second tranche on time,” Schaeuble said.

He noted that talks with the International Monetary Fund, which Germany wants to bring into the Greek bailout, but which demands debt relief for Greece, would be difficult.

“The IMF has a debt sustainability analysis that cannot be brought in line with the European institutions,” Schaeuble said.

“That is why we have to see how we can find a solution with the IMF, so that the IMF can be part of the programme without breaching its rules. That will be one of the difficult issues, we have had many preparatory talks, but I‘m confident we can find a solution,” he said.

Schaeuble made clear, however, that Germany, which faces elections in September, could not meet the IMF’s demand to promise Greece debt relief already now.

“The medium term measures, if they are necessary, will be decided on after the end of the programme. We have specified what this could be, an extension of the maturities, specific measures with regards to the interest. We could specify that in one or the other way but it cannot not be decided upon before the end of the programme without a new mandate,” he said. (Reporting By Robert-Jan Bartunek; writing by Jan Strupczewski)

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