Schaeuble Says Greece to Blame for Delays in Bailout Program

  • German Finance Minister says IMF isn’t holding back talks
  • IMF’s Thomsen says mission to be sent to Greece after progress

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the Greek government bore responsibility for current delays in the country’s bailout program.

Greece is to blame that its creditors didn’t return to Athens during the Greek Easter break to finish negotiations on steps the nation must take to qualify for the next tranche of emergency loans, Schaeuble told reporters Friday on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund spring meetings. IMF European Department head Poul Thomsen said at a media briefing there’s been enough progress recently to send back a mission to Greece.

Greece and its international creditors struck a tentative agreement at a meeting of euro-area finance ministers in Malta earlier this month, breaking the latest deadlock over the country’s rescue and paving the way for about 7 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in aid for Athens. Although the decision represents progress, the euro area won’t unlock the payout until their audit in Athens is concluded.

“It would have been possible to continue the mission in Athens immediately in the week after Malta,” said Schaeuble. “This was not possible during the Greek Easter break.”

In a statement on Friday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she had a “constructive dialogue” with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos “in preparation for the return of the mission to discuss the two legs of the Greece program: policies and debt relief.”

The IMF isn’t holding back progress, said Schaeuble. “The IMF isn’t delaying this process at all,” he said.

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