Merkel backs help for Greece but says 'task by no means done': MP

24th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday asked her conservative party to back a proposed bailout extension to Greece in a parliament vote this week, said a lawmaker at the meeting.

But the German leader, Europe's main champion of austerity and tough reforms for debt-hit countries, also said talks would continue with the left-wing government in Athens, stressing that the "task is by no means done", the MP said.

Merkel said that in recent discussions with eurozone partners, the Greek government had gradually accepted reality, according to the lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Eurozone finance ministers said Tuesday that reform proposals submitted by Greece's one-month-old government were "sufficiently comprehensive to be a valid starting point" for further discussions.

The reforms put forward include measures to tackle tax evasion and corruption and to seek savings and efficiencies throughout the Greek civil service and government.

A four-month extension of emergency support now has to be approved by several national parliaments, including Germany's.

Germany's lower house, the Bundestag, is due to vote Friday on the proposed bailout extension, said a top official from Merkel's ruling Christian Democrats party, Michael Grosse-Broemer.

The vote will go ahead once the Greek bailout extension has been given the green light by the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The lower house motion will be filed by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, to be followed by a 90-minute debate, said Grosse-Broemer.

Merkel's "grand coalition" government that groups her conservatives with the centre-left Social Democrats has an overwhelming parliamentary majority.


© 2015 AFP

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