Merkel's deputy 'cautiously optimistic' of Greece deal

24th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said Tuesday he was "cautiously optimistic" Greece would find a solution with eurozone partners to extend its bailout programme.

"I am cautiously optimistic that on Friday and today we have moved, step by step, toward a solution to the conflict," Gabriel said after eurozone finance ministers agreed to a four-month extension and Athens issued a list of proposed reforms.

"We want Greece to stay in the eurozone," said the centre-left Social Democrat, who is deputy to conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel in a left-right "grand coalition" government and also serves as economy and energy minister.

"We want to continue to help Greece, but the condition for this is the continuation of the reform programme," he said at a Berlin conference on Europe.

Greece's new left-wing government has demanded an end to hated austerity measures, which were required in return for international bailouts.

The Greek leaders are scrambling to reach a solution with eurozone finance ministers before the current bailout programme expires Saturday.

Gabriel said that "every government has the right to change how it consolidates (debt), but the financial consequences of a policy change must be borne by the country itself, not shared with other countries".

© 2015 AFP

0 Comments To This Article