May 22, 2017 / 10:10 AM / 3 months ago

Germany's Schaeuble pushes back in Greece debt relief row

FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble presents draft budget for 2018 and mid-term plans for state spending until 2021 during a news conference in Berlin, Germany, March 15, 2017.Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Reforms agreed by Greece are "remarkable" but the Greek economy is not yet competitive and Athens must press ahead with implementing its existing reforms-for-aid program, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday.

Schaeuble, a conservative, stuck to his position that Greece must implement its existing program after German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat, earlier demanded the euro zone make a concrete commitment on debt relief to Greece.

"We are not talking about a new program but the implementation of the program agreed in 2015," Schaeuble said. "At the end of the program, in 2018, we will, if necessary, put in place additional measures that we have defined."

"It is about one goal - namely to help Greece become competitive," Schaeuble said, adding Greece was not there yet.

Reporting by Noah Barkin; Writing by Paul Carrel

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