Germany's Schaeuble believes International Monetary Fund will be part of Greek bailout
- Author: Zachary Reyes Feb 20, 2017,
Feb 20, 2017, 18:33
German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said the institutions in charge of Greece's bailout have reached a "common position" on how to proceed.
"I assume that the institutions now have a common position and that we will today go as far as sending a technical mission back to Athens", Schaeuble told reporters in a doorstep interview in Brussels.
Where once officials had pinpointed Monday's meeting of euro-area finance chiefs as the final chance for a deal before Europe's politicians get too distracted with national elections, now the maximum that can be achieved at the talks in Brussels is agreement on when to send bailout monitors back to Athens.
His comments appear to indicate that deadlock between the European Union and the International Monetary Fund over the next steps may have been resolved.
But Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt said on entering the meeting that a deal with Greece should not be rushed because of the European election calendar, especially as Greece did not face major financing needs until July, when it has to repay 7.2 billion euros in maturing debt.
The government still insists on the International Monetary Fund making a financial contribution to Greece's bailout, Finance Ministry spokeswoman Friederike von Tiesenhausen said at the same press conference. "Actually, we were expected to do this past year, but Greece has taken more time than intended", he said.
Greece's debts are so huge that the International Monetary Fund has threatened to walk away from the bailout plan.
It insists therefore that either Athens undertakes further reforms, or the euro zone should agree to lower the primary surplus target to 1.5 percent of GDP and grant Greece debt relief to make it sustainable.
The IMF wants the debt to be restructured as well as a looser target for government spending.
"We have said over and over again that for us the IMF's participation is indispensable and we are working on this path", Tiesenhausen said.
Demmer declined to comment on a media report suggesting that the chancellor and Lagarde discussed Greece by phone several days ago.