German politicians urge Greece to stay on reform course | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 09.05.2012
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German politicians urge Greece to stay on reform course

German policy makers are getting increasingly worried about the political turmoil in Greece, asking parties there to form a stable government. Berlin hopes Athens will stick to previously agreed reforms.

Top German policy makers on Wednesday reiterated their calls for Greece to stick to current bailout agreements. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble warned Greece must stick to a deal agreed in March with its international backers and enact promised reforms to remain within the eurozone.

Schäuble referred to austerity cuts in return for a 240-billion-euro ($310-billion) debt bailout, saying that "you can't have one without the other.

Speaking at a conference in Brussels, he didn't feel inclined to speculate about the possibility of Greece leaving the euro area. "It's up to Greece to decide, we don't have to discuss a plan B," the minister maintained.

Avoiding the elephant in the room?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it had always been clear to her that solving Greece's problems would take a lot of time. But she continued to think about solutions only within the framework of Greece staying in the eurozone, Merkel said in an interview for Thursday's edition of the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle for his part warned Greece would not receive any more bailout funds, if the next government in Athens were to scrap budget consolidation reforms. "Greece should know itself what's at stake, if it calls into question or unilaterally severs earlier agreements with its partners," Westerwelle argued.

According to Athens, without international help Greece will default and slip into economic chaos as early as June. While future bailout payments will indeed hinge on Greece's ability to form a stable pro-reform government, the next tranche of a total of 5.2 billion euros worth of loans looks certain to be granted on Thursday.

hg/ng (Reuters, AFP)