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Not 'a single euro' for Greece till pledges met: Germany

25 February 2015, 18:02 CET
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Not 'a single euro' for Greece till pledges met: Germany

Wolfgang Schaeuble - Photo EU Council

(BERLIN) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble stressed Wednesday that Greece, having won breathing space in its debt talks, will not receive "a single euro" until it meets the pledges of its existing bail-out programme.

If the conditions are not met and the Greek reform plans presented to creditors this week are not substantiated with figures, no more money will be paid, he said on SWR public radio, stressing that the commitments Athens agreed with creditors the EU, ECB and IMF remain valid.

"If they fulfil those, then they can still receive the outstanding payments. And if they don't fulfil those, there will be no payments," Schaeuble said.

He added that "not a single euro will be paid before then".

Greece's new left-wing government has secured a four-month extension to its lifeline bailout programme with promises of ambitious reforms and a pledge to stick to its financial commitments.

The breathing space beyond a Saturday deadline prevents the immediate worst-case scenario of national bankruptcy, a run on banks and even a chaotic exit from the eurozone.

Eurozone finance ministers called the pledges a "starting point", the ECB pointed out that they "differ from existing programme commitments in a number of areas", and IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the list lacks "clear assurances" on previous reform promises.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged her conservative party to back the bailout extension in a parliament vote Friday, stressing however that the "task is by no means done", a lawmaker has said.

Schaeuble stressed that the extension gives Greece more time but does not let it off the hook in terms of its pledges.

"Fist the Greek government said it wouldn't meet the commitments," he said. "Then we said you won't get the outstanding possible payments under the programme.

"Now the Greek government says it wants to meet the commitments after all. And we have said, well, you'll get more time ... so you can meet the commitments.

"But whether they will meet them or not, we will have to see. And only when it is certain that they have met them, will there be payment."

Most German oppose more European aid for Athens. Only 21 percent are in favour of a green light from the German parliament Friday, according to a survey by the Insa Institute for Bild daily published Wednesday.

Eurogroup statement on Greece

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