Sat, Jul 20, 2013 - Page 7 News List

German minister says new aid for Greece possible

AFP, ATHENS

Germany’s finance minister on Thursday said new financial aid for Greece could be considered if it hauls its budget out of the red, a day after parliament passed unpopular new austerity measures.

“Possibly there could be a discussion regarding new [aid] toward the end of 2014 if Greece achieves primary surplus,” Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters on a visit to Athens.

“Greece has made significant progress, we are on a good path,” he added, acknowledging the hardship Greeks have suffered because of the reforms.

The country has been forced to ensure job, pay and pension cuts, in order to secure 240 billion euros (US$314 billion) in rescue funds from the EU and IMF.

Greece’s latest wave of reforms, that put thousands of jobs on the line, but were necessary for the country to receive its next slice of 6.8 billion euros in rescue funds, have caused widespread protests.

“I am very impressed by what Greece has already achieved in rebalancing and modernizing the economy,” Schaeuble said.

Schaeuble, who met Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and other top officials, was present at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Greece and German development bank KfW.

Security was tightened during his visit, as Schaeuble is resented by many in Greece who see him as a champion of the painful reforms the country has had to endure.

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