Germany and the Netherlands signaled that Greece’s future in the euro is not yet assured, as the northern neighbors sought to maintain pressure on Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to hold to agreed reforms.
“It’s not yet decided,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview with ZDF television, according to e-mailed extracts. “We want Greece to be able to stay in the euro zone. But Greece has a lot to do.”
Schaeuble’s Dutch colleague, acting Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager, told reporters in The Hague today that the Netherlands is “against any delay in the measures the country should take.” While he reiterated the view that “we should wait for the report of the troika” of international creditors, De Jager said that “Greece must bear the costs of any delay.”
The dual message is a rebuke to Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who triggered investor confusion on Oct. 24 when he told lawmakers in Athens that Greece had won approval for its bid to secure a two-year extension to 2016 for its bailout program. The European Commission and European Central Bank, two-thirds of the so-called troika examining Greece’s progress in meeting the terms of its bailout, denied that a deal had been struck, saying their review is not yet complete.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is the biggest contributor to Greece’s 130 billion-euro ($168 billion) bailout, said in August when Samaras visited Berlin that she was “deeply convinced” his government would “do what it takes to solve the problem in Greece.”