Germany to raise 'questions' on Greece draft deal at Eurogroup

12th August 2015, Comments 0 comments

Germany plans to raise questions about a draft bailout deal between creditors and Greece at a Eurogroup meeting this week, the finance ministry said Wednesday.

"We have formulated questions," Wolfgang Schaeuble's finance ministry said in a statement. "These are part of the review process which is not yet completed.

"The questions will be discussed in the Eurogroup" of eurozone finance ministers meeting Friday in Brussels.

The ministry denied a headline in the top-selling Bild newspaper claiming "the government rejects the Greece aid package."

Bild had cited a two-page, English-language German finance ministry paper that pointed to shortcomings in the draft agreement.

German finance officials were said to have raised "open questions," especially on Greece's debt sustainability, the role of the International Monetary Fund and on privatisations.

Bild reported that the ministry paper charged the agreement "falls short in almost all areas of the conclusions" of an emergency EU summit in July.

Greece's annual budget targets had been scaled back, the ministry reportedly complained.

The analysis also considers Greece's debt sustainability to be "one of the main outstanding issues" because the country's financial needs were "higher than expected," said Bild.

The finance ministry in its response to Bild did not deny having raised those points, but stressed they are part of a normal review process.

A government spokesman said earlier Berlin would need until the end of the week to review and evaluate the 400-page agreement.

Greece and its creditors -- the EU, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund -- are under pressure to finalise the deal by August 20, when Athens must repay some 3.4 billion euros to the ECB.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert earlier praised Athens' approach to the negotiations as "the most constructive we have seen for several months."

He said Merkel had spoken with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras twice by telephone this week.

© 2015 AFP

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