Greece’s Tsakalotos Says German Position on Debt Is Unrealistic

  • Says he conveyed that message to Germany’s Schaeuble on Friday
  • In interview, says he wants IMF to join the bailout program

Why Greece Is Eyeing the IMF to Help Ease Its Debt Pile

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said that Germany’s opposition to debt relief is at odds with its demands that the International Monetary Fund join the bailout program.

Speaking in an interview on Friday with Bloomberg Television, Tsakalotos said he conveyed this message to his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble earlier in the day. The two are participating in annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has expressed skepticism that Greece can recover without a reduction in its debt load, though Schaeuble said as recently as Thursday that the Mediterranean country should meet its commitments, adding that it doesn’t have to pay interest for more than a decade.

The IMF has until the end of the year to decide whether to participate in the bailout program, which was a key condition for the German lower house’s approval of the third aid package for Greece. Tsakalotos said he wants the IMF to join the program.

Schaeuble believes the bailout program “will work, the IMF will be on board and there won’t be much debt relief,” Tsakalotos said. “Something has to give there, and I think deep down in his heart he understands that.”

“He’s a wily politician. He’s been around for a long time. I can’t believe he doesn’t understand you can’t have all those three things,” he said.

Tsakalotos likened Greece to a gazelle that is trying to avoid being trampled by two fighting elephants, in this case Germany and the IMF.

“We really should force people to knock heads together to be able to reach a solution,” he said.

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