With conditions, Schaeuble paves way for German vote on Greece

Published Tue, Feb 24, 2015 · 08:57 AM
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[BERLIN] Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has paved the way for a possible parliamentary vote this week on a loan extension to Greece, Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday.

Mr Schaeuble requested the vote in a letter to the president of the Bundestag lower house, Norbert Lammert. The document makes a vote contingent on reform proposals from Greece being accepted by the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund, the daily newspaper said. "Provided Greece avows its obligations and provided there is an agreement in the eurogroup (of finance ministers), the German government would be in favour of the proposed extension," Mr Schaeuble wrote. "This petition is being made on the condition that Greece submits a list of reform measures and the three institutions give their opinion on whether these measures provide a sufficient basis for a successful conclusion of the programme." Greece sent a list of economic reform plans to European institutions and the IMF at around midnight, a source close to the European Commission said on Tuesday.

Mr Schaeuble's spokesman Martin Jaeger said on Monday that euro zone finance ministers would discuss the reforms in a telephone conference on Tuesday. Berlin expected it to be "coherent and plausible".

Germany, the biggest contributor to Greece's two bailouts totalling 240 billion euros, insisted earlier that any extra spending by Athens had to be offset by savings or higher taxes.

Greece's leftist government staged a climbdown on Friday to win the four-month extension of its bailout, which had been due to expire on Feb 28. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had promised to scrap the programme when he won election last month.

A deputy German finance minister, Steffen Kampeter, said in an interview with Bavarian Radio BR on Tuesday he believed parliament would vote in favour of the loan extension provided the conditions were met. "If the Greeks deliver and the troika (group of lenders) gives its blessing, it's quite possible that either all or certainly most of the parties represented in parliament would vote in favour."


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