• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Schäuble warns Greece: no alternative

AFP · 29 Dec 2014, 17:09

Published: 29 Dec 2014 17:09 GMT+01:00

"These tough reforms are bearing fruit, they have no alternative," Schäuble said in a statement - the first official government reaction to events in Athens.


"New elections change nothing in the accords struck with the Greek government" for an international bailout of the debt-mired country, he added.


Greek lawmakers failed for a third time Monday to elect a new president, triggering a snap election that could bring to power a radical anti-austerity party threatening to undo many economic reforms.


Prime Minister Antonis Samaras proposed the legislative vote for January 25.


The European Union called on Greek voters to stick by the reforms adopted as part of a massive international rescue package for the eurozone member state.


Germany, as the paymaster for eurozone bailouts, has spearheaded a drive to demand swingeing spending cuts in exchange for any aid, arguing that budgetary discipline offered the only long-term solution to the debt crisis.


The pain experienced by ordinary Greeks as a result of the reform programmes has helped fuel support for the far-left party Syriza.


Syriza, which declined to vote in the presidential election in order to force snap polls, wants to raise salaries and pensions, halt layoffs and freeze the privatisation of state assets -- key elements of reforms demanded by Greece's EU-IMF creditors.

Schäuble in his statement said that Germany had "great respect" for the reforms Greece has implemented since 2009 and insisted Berlin would continue to "support Greece on its path of reforming so as to help itself".


But he added: "If Greece chooses another path, it will be difficult."


"Every new government must respect the agreements made by its predecessors," he said.


Earlier a spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel declined to comment on what she called "domestic political developments" in Greece. "We will have to analyse them and then decide on an approach," the spokeswoman told reporters.

Meanwhile in Frankfurt, the European Central Bank said Monday it would seek views from Greek authorities on how to proceed with a review of the country's bailout in the wake of the news.

"It's now for the Greek electorate to decide about the future composition
of the parliament and the government. We will not interfere in or comment on
this democratic process," the ECB said in a statement.

Story continues below…

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have overseen two massive international bailouts for Greece after its debt crisis nearly destroyed the single currency zone.

But even after the rescue packages worth €240 billion and most of the debt held by private investors being wiped out, the economy has only just begun to recover after six years of contraction.


The reforms required by the creditors have improved the government's finances but have taken a heavy toll on Greeks as unemployment has soared above 27 percent and many people have had wages and benefits cut.


Greece recently secured a two-month extension from its EU-IMF creditors to conclude an ongoing fiscal audit that will determine the release of some 7.0 billion euros in loans. The extension expires in February.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Stuttgart fest pulls in twice as many boozers as Oktoberfest
Is this Oktoberfest or is this Stuttgart's Cannstatter Volksfest? Can you tell the difference? Well, it's Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

Apparently Munich is no longer the top place to wear lederhosen and down beer one litre at a time.

Dresden mosque, conference hall hit by homemade bombs
The Dresden mosque that was hit by a homemade bomb attack on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Bomb attacks hit a mosque and a congress centre in the eastern German city of Dresden, police said on Tuesday, adding that they suspected a xenophobic and nationalist motive.

The Local List
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Photo: DPA

These films are so good, not even The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari made the list.

Young man destroys 17 cars after visiting Oktoberfest

Early on Monday morning a drunk 29-year-old trashed 17 cars after staggering out of Oktoberfest into the Munich streets. It was one of several eye-popping crimes from "Wiesn" over the past few days.

VW emissions scandal
Audi tech chief leaves after reports link him to 'dieselgate'
Audi's head of technical development Stefan Knirsch stepped down on Monday. Photo: DPA.

Audi's head of technical development stepped down "with immediate effect" on Monday, the luxury carmaker announced, after German media accused him of involvement in parent company Volkswagen's "dieselgate" scandal.

Deutsche Bank shares hit lowest level in quarter century
Photo: DPA.

Shares in Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, sank to a historic low on Monday after reports at the weekend that Berlin had refused state aid for the embattled lender.

The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,511
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd