German foreign minister: Greece should stay in eurozone

Sigmar Gabriel [SPÖ/Flickr]

Germany should do all it can to keep Greece in the eurozone, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in an interview on Tuesday (21 February), amid renewed tensions between Athens and its international creditors over its bailout programme.

Greece and its creditors agreed on Monday (20 January) to resume talks on a review of the bailout, easing a standoff which had threatened to block the disbursement of another tranche of its €86 billion ($90-billion) financial aid programme.

“I think it’s only right that a country as big, strong and stable as Germany does everything it can to keep Europe together,” Gabriel told the Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain, according to excerpts of the interview due to be published in full on Wednesday (22 February).

Schäuble denies 'Grexit' threat, says Greece on right path

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble denied yesterday (19 February) that he had said Greece would have to leave the eurozone if it failed to implement economic reforms.

“Athens should stick to the agreements it once made and we should join forces to do everything to finally get the country and its afflicted people back on their feet again both economically and socially – within the euro zone,” said Gabriel, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition.

Earlier this month the German government said it remained united on the need to stabilise the Greek economy despite indications of divergent views between the conservatives and the SPD.

On Tuesday, a senior conservative lawmaker, Hans-Peter Friedrich, told Reuters he believed Germany would not back further loans to Greece if the International Monetary Fund withdraws from the bailout programme.

Greece's lenders shift from austerity to reforms

The Eurogroup took a small step on Monday (20 February) towards the completion of the second review of Greece’s €86 billion rescue programme, placing the emphasis on reforms over austerity to reduce the country’s huge debt pile.

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