Sapin Says Greece Must Fulfill Promises as Soon as Possible

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Michel Sapin

Michel Sapin

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Greece needs to make good on its promises with euro-area lenders as soon as possible so the creditors can move on to discuss easing the country’s debt burden.

Sapin and other euro-zone finance ministers meet Monday in Brussels for the first time since Alexis Tsipras’s September election victory. They’re due to pick over the 48 milestones Greece needs to meet to qualify for its next bailout payments.

“We’ll be taking the temperature of the new government,” Sapin said in an interview before the meeting. “We want to see its determination to meet commitments under the July agreement and within the right timeframe.”

While European leaders are pushing Tsipras for deep spending cuts and an overhaul of the Mediterranean state’s economy, the Greek leader is trying to fulfill a promise to voters to ease the impact of austerity. His plan seeking to strike a balance between creditor demands and his election pledges will be revealed in a three-day parliamentary debate set to conclude with a vote of confidence on Wednesday.

The sooner the agreement with Greece’s lenders is implemented, the sooner the creditors can look at easing the debt burden, a step that must be completed before the International Monetary Fund can provide further financing to Greece, Sapin said.

“It’s crucial because the IMF is on a different timetable and the IMF can only put its next program in place when we have agreed to easing the debt burden,” Sapin said.

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