Schaeuble Urges Tsipras to Affirm IMF Role in Greek Bailout

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would do well to avoid questioning the need for the International Monetary Fund to participate in his country’s latest bailout, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

“It’s not in the Greek interest” to keep the IMF out, Schaeuble said at a news conference in Brussels on Tuesday after a meeting of European Union finance ministers. “They should focus on doing what they agreed to do.”

Euro-area leaders “negotiated long enough” with Tsipras this year to reach an aid accord, and the Greek prime minister then won a mandate in elections “to be able to stick to what he signed,” Schaeuble said. Tsipras said in a Greek television interview Monday that his government didn’t ask the IMF to participate and the fund should decide if it’s willing to compromise and stay part of the bailout.

Full IMF participation is linked to the first review of Greek progress in meeting reform commitments, which may be completed in February after missing a November deadline. Getting the IMF to join was a German condition for agreeing to the 86 billion-euro ($94 billion) aid program received by Greece in August. Tsipras has requested a new IMF program, which would replace a dormant one that’s due to expire in March.

Greece’s aid program “is on track,” Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday. “Increasingly less time is taken on the Greek issue, which I take as a good sign.”

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