A few hours before a crucial EU leaders summit in Brussels on Monday, Germany's finance minister warned that the bloc might refuse Greece a fresh bailout package unless it persuades its partners it can streamline its state and economy.
"Unless Greece implements the necessary decisions and doesn't just announce them... there's no amount of money that can solve the problem,» Wolfgang Schauble said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday.
“Greece needs to decide,” he said a day after expressing similar concerns in an interview with Dow Jones newswire.
Schauble's comments came in the wake of a controversial German proposal leaked to the media over the weekend for a European budget commissioner to oversee the country’s fiscal policy.
The idea was blasted by Greek government officials and met with skepticism within the European Commission.
"Perhaps we and our partners must look into ways to assist Greece in this difficult task in an even closer manner,» Schauble said.
EU chiefs gather for their first summit of 2012 on Monday as a deteriorating economy and struggle to complete a Greek debt writeoff threaten to sidetrack efforts to ease the financial crisis.
European leaders were expected to put the finishing touches on a German-led deficit-control treaty and endorse the statutes of a 500 billion-euro rescue fund to be set up this year.
Greece and its private creditors said this weekend they expect to complete a deal in coming days after bondholders signaled they would accept European government demands for a bigger cut in their debt holdings.
Schauble defended Berlin's handling of the euro crisis against international criticism.
"In the euro zone, we will regain the trust we have lost only through steady policies,» rather than constantly revising decisions, he told the newspaper.