Germany holds back on another Greek bailout

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Germany wants to read a report by international experts on Greece before deciding if it will provide more rescue funds in a second bailout, a government spokesman said Monday.

His comments suggested Berlin did not intend to have its hand forced by Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the eurozone group of foreign ministers, who said last week that more aid could be forthcoming.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular press conference in Berlin: "What is out there now are not commitments but opinions," referring to a mooted second package worth around 60 billion euros ($88 billion).

"German payments must be decided by German authorities," Seibert stressed.

Juncker said last week that he expected "the Eurogroup (of finance ministers) to agree to additional financing to be provided to Greece, of course under strict conditionality."

Financial markets interpreted the comment as a commitment to come up with more funds for Greece which will need much more than an initial package worth 110 billion euros agreed upon with the European Union and International Monetary Fund in May 2010.

But Berlin, which resisted last year before signing on to that plan, wants to hear what a "troika" of European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank experts has to say in a report that has been delayed several times already.

"There will be a concerted position when the report has been read and analysed," Seibert said.

The document is now expected on Wednesday.

The spokesman added that future German aid would be subject to "intense discussions" in parliament, although it is not clear if a new round of funding would have to have the body's approval.

In general, "the chancellor (Angela Merkel) supports positions by the Finance Minister (Wolfgang Schaeuble)," the spokesman said.

Schaeuble has argued for any new aid to be conditional on private sector participation in one form or another, a view opposed by the European Central Bank.

© 2011 AFP

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