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Tsipras in conflict with Schaeuble over IMF

09 December 2015 / 19:12:14  GRReporter
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The relations between the Greek government and creditors have suddenly entered a new phase of tension, the reason being the statement of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in an interview with the state television ERT, in which he said, "The International Monetary Fund will have to decide whether it wants an agreement, if it will continue to be part of the Greek programme. If the Fund does not want to, it should state it in public."

The response came from German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schaeuble who clearly suggested that the Greek government and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in person were trying to circumvent the implementation of commitments undertaken in the summer, probably due to the poor majority in parliament (153 MPs - editor’s note).

In statements to the media within the context of yesterday's meeting of the European Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) Schaeuble said, "It is not in Greece’s favour to question the involvement of the International Monetary Fund in the bailout." He even referred to the famous saying "the pitcher goes to the well once too often ", adding, "it is not in favour of the pitcher."

Obviously annoyed, the German Minister of Finance pointed out, "I think that we had long talks with Mr. Tsipras in July and August. And I think he signed the agreement. Then he called elections to renew the will of the Greek people in order to comply with what he had signed. I did not take at all into account that he again spoke about what he would not want to comply with. This is not in Greece’s interest."

Then Wolfgang Schaeuble added, "They should focus on doing what they did. We have never been narrow-minded. As always they are late, going beyond all terms set in the agreement. Putting it (the agreement - editor’s note) under question in its integrity may be indispensable for internal political reasons - as I see he has a slight majority and probably it is not easy for him. But certainly it is not in favour of Greece."

Greek government spokesman Olga Gerovasili responded to Wolfgang Schaeuble’s statements by saying that the strategy of Athens and the team of the Prime Minister aimed at creating a European front against the International Monetary Fund. "It is just as well that the German Minister of Finance is trying to "keep the pitcher undamaged." European public opinion is already aware of the positions that each side is serving. We recall that the interest of the country is the competence of the Greek government and expect from the German Ministry of Finance that it will distinguish itself from the unacceptably tough stance of the International Monetary Fund. Europe must and can solve alone its own problems," said Gerovasili.

The Greek government considers the events a result of a conflict in the German government. Athens, which anyway has always accepted with suspicion the positions of Wolfgang Schaeuble, believes that his circle is the source of the publication in the newspaper Die Welt, which defines Greece as an "uncontrollable ship."

The rebuttal of the publication by the German government is the reason for Athens to believe that Berlin is on its side. Therefore, government officials indicate that all the negative comments about Greece are the work of "circles" that want to destabilize the government.

The Greek media comment, however, that Athens would hardly find support among its partners on the possible withdrawal of the International Monetary Fund from the third bailout. Especially considering the fact that actually it will be connected with renegotiating the bailout conditions.

Tags: PoliticsAlexis TsiprasWolfgang SchaeubleIMFThird bailout
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