Schaeuble Presses Greece on Bailout Terms, Urges EU Solidarity

  • Greek euro exit not on table amid `terrible' refugee crisis
  • It's Germany sticking up for Greece now, finance chief says

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece must keep to its bailout commitments, though the country deserves more help by its European partners in coping with the “terribly difficult” refugee crisis.

“Greece is suffering a terrible lack of solidarity by a lot of European member states,” Schaeuble said on a panel at the London School of Economics on Thursday. “The only European state that’s defending Greece in these days -- it’s quite interesting -- is Germany, in the migration issue.”

Schaeuble warned that there’s no shift in Germany’s stance that Greece has to meet the terms of its third international bailout, crafted by Europe last year to keep the euro area’s most-indebted member in the currency union. As Greece struggles with the twin challenges of refugees and overhauling its economy, European Union leaders plan to meet in Brussels on Monday with the focus on finding ways to reduce the migrant influx.

A Greek exit from the euro “is not on the table,” Schaeuble said in response to an audience question. At the same time, Greece shouldn’t use the migration crisis as an excuse “not to stick to what we have agreed in overcoming the euro-zone crisis.”

As the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund assess Greece’s progress on meeting the bailout terms, Germany is willing to grant Greece leeway in the overhaul of its pension system, a person familiar with the German government’s position said this week.

While Schaeuble didn’t address that topic, he prodded both sides to move forward, given Greece’s financing needs.

“Until now, Greece has not achieved what has been agreed for this review,” he said. “It’s not a problem of the institutions, it’s only a problem for Greece to deliver what has been agreed. But it’s up to the three institutions to find a solution for the financing need of Greece.”

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