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Greece 'should legislate immediately': Germany

AFP/The Local · 10 Jul 2015, 13:12

Published: 10 Jul 2015 09:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Jul 2015 13:12 GMT+02:00

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"First steps in the direction of legislation would be good," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble's spokesman Martin Jäger told a Berlin press conference.

Germany did not offer an evaluation of the proposals from Athens that were delivered to eurozone governments late last night.

And Jäger added that "the outcome of the Eurogroup [eurozone finance ministers] meeting on Saturday is completely open" - offering no clue as to whether the single currency treasury chiefs would recommend the final set of Greek proposals to their heads of government, who meet on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said that there was "no difference" between the views of the German leader and French President Francois Hollande - despite the markedly more conciliatory tone struck by Hollande in recent days towards Greece.

Seibert, backed up by Jäger, also repeated that a debt writedown for Greece was out of the question.

"We see very little leeway in terms of restructuring, reprofiling (of Greece's debt) and the like," Jäger told reporters.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble "made very clear yesterday that he sees these things, or this debate, very sceptically".

After Athens handed the EU a new reform list on Thursday evening in the hope of obtaining fresh financial aid, leading German politicians reacted sceptically to the news on Friday.

"On Sunday they led a campaign in which they cursed everything which they have now presented [to the EU]. Will it all be implemented, or are these just promises?" Ralph Brinkhaus, deputy leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the Bundestag told public broadcaster ZDF.

Hans-Peter Friedrich, the Christian Social Union (CSU) deputy leader in the Bundestag, criticized the EU's initial reaction to the reform list.

"I have very little trust in them. You could send Jean-Claude Junker an old newspaper with a signature on it and he'd say 'great, great great.' That's the reality at the moment."

German economists meanwhile were split on how they viewed the reform package, reports Handelsblatt.

The proposals are "a step in the right direction,“ said Postbank's chief economist Marco Bargel. "It wasn't something that was expected after Sunday's referendum.

"The markets are backing a deal being concluded at the weekend as the rising value of the euro and higher yields on German government bonds show,“ said Bargel.

But Commerzbank's Jörg Krämer described the list as only containing "cosmetic changes."

He warned that the Greek government is trying to sell its voters something they rejected only a few days previously.

"They can only sell it to the electorate when they get something in return – which means further debt reduction in the form of lower interest rates and longer time periods to pay off the debt." 

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For the creditors to make a deal on this basis would be a "rotten compromise,“ he claimed.

The Greek government sent a new reform package to its eurozone creditors in the hope of gaining much-needed capital and will seek the endorsement of its parliament for the reform package on Friday.

The chairman of Eurogroup finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, said through a spokesperson that he could not comment on the proposed reforms until they had been fully assessed.

Eurozone finance ministers will gather on Saturdayto discuss the proposals, before all 28 EU heads of government meet at an extraordinary summit on Sunday.

A further vote in the Greek parliament would then be needed to turn them into law, reports Reuters.

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AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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