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Solidarity not for free, Commissioner tells Greece

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Solidarity not for free, Commissioner tells Greece

Vivane Reding - Photo EC

(VIENNA) - Greece should stop looking for scapegoats abroad for its problems and work harder to get itself out of its economic mess, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said Sunday in an interview.

"I wish the Greeks would concentrate on rebuilding their state rather than blaming scapegoats outside Greece for their plight," Reding, who is also vice-president of the European commission, said in an interview with the Austrian daily Kurier.

"It's understandable that the (EU) finance ministers no longer want to stand by and watch as promises are not kept."

"Solidarity does not come for free, Greece must also earn this help," Reding said in the interview, published in German.

Eurozone finance ministers are to meet in Brussels on Monday to finalise a second Greek bailout to write off 100 billion euros ($130 billion) of debt and provide a loan of 130 billion euros.

But patience is running thin in Europe with Greek reform delays, while in Athens tough austerity measures have been greeted with violent protests.

"I am confident they (the finance ministers) will agree on the package. But under some conditions. The money should not flow into a bottomless pit," Reding said, echoing comments by Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Berlin has been at the forefront of efforts to help Greece out of its debt crisis but has also earned nasty portrayals in Greek media as a revived Nazi regime ordering Athens around.

"Germany has already paid a lot to Greece. Now a similar gesture is needed in return, otherwise solidarity will dry up," the EU commissioner urged on Athens' part.

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