Germany’s Schaeuble warns of Greek ‘sudden insolvency’ risk: report
Germany's finance minister said in comments published Sunday that Berlin wants to help indebted Greece stay in the eurozone, but warned of the risk of Athens facing sudden insolvency.
“Experience elsewhere in the world has shown that a country can suddenly slide into insolvency,” Wolfgang Schaeuble warned in an interview with the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
When asked whether Berlin was preparing for such a scenario, Schaeuble said only that “there are some questions that a responsible politician should not answer. Otherwise there’ll be misunderstandings.”
Schaeuble also stressed that Germany, Europe’s top economy, “will do everything to keep Greece in the eurozone under responsible conditions,” adding that he and Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed that Greece “must not fail because of us.”
But he also warned that “Greece itself must do what is necessary to return to a sustainable, solid path,” including by reforming its administration.
Eurozone finance ministers meet in Brussels on Monday, and Greece, led by a leftist anti-austerity government, is hoping for a “positive statement” on negotiations that will allow for a portion of 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in remaining bailout loans to be released, officials have said.
Greece and its international creditors were “very close” to a loan deal for the cash-strapped country, Euclid Tsakalotos, a Greek junior foreign minister, said Sunday.
However, European officials have played down the likelihood of a deal actually emerging on Monday, and Schaeuble also cautioned that “I don’t foresee that everything will be cleared up by then.”
The Sunday newspaper also reported that Eurogroup officials had spoken of progress, but not yet a breakthrough, in talks on Greece in a Friday phone conference.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, after speaking by phone with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras three times during the past week, said that now “the glass is half-full,” the report said.