Lagarde, Schaeuble talk tough on Greece

In an interview with US television channel CBS, to be aired on Sunday night, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, reportedly warned that Greece’s solvency and European future is not guaranteed despite the government’s ongoing austerity drive.

“It is not yet certain that Greece will avoid bankruptcy or a forced exit from the European Union and eurozone,” Lagarde reportedly told CBS in comments that appear to be intended as a warning to Greek political parties preparing for snap polls, expected on May 6.

In a related development, Gerry Rice, head of external relations at the IMF, told Skai that pledges from Greece’s two main parties, socialist PASOK and conservative New Democracy, that the terms of the country’s second bailout from foreign creditors would be met were “reassuring.” Rice added that it was normal for there to be some uncertainty ahead of general elections.

CBS also interviewed German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose country has played a dominant role in shaping Greece’s austerity program and who reportedly said that Greeks were seeking a “scapegoat” by blaming Germany for their fate. “When entire nations live beyond their means and are then obliged to adopt austerity... it is logical that they would blame others,” Schaeuble is quoted as saying in the interview.

“It is normal that people suffering due to their own mistakes will push the blame onto others,” the minister is said to have added, noting that Germany “does not want to occupy anyone.”

“Germany had such ambitions in the past and failed. Today however, it does not have such ambitions,” Schaeuble is said to have told CBS. 

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