Merkel insists Greece must stick to commitments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel insists that Greece must implement the reforms it agreed to in exchange for receiving more loans.

“No departures can be made from the reform measures,” Merkel reportedly said at the G20 meeting in Mexico. She added that “we have to count on Greece sticking to its commitments.”

US President Barack Obama, also at the G20 meeting, said Greece’s election result was a “positive” sign for agreement between Greece and its lenders. “I think the election in Greece yesterday [Sunday] indicates a positive prospect for not only them forming a government, but also them working constructively with their international partners in order that they can continue on the path of reform.”

European Central Bank board member Joerg Asmussen said giving Greece more time to meet fiscal targets, as German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle suggested on Sunday, would require its partners to provide more money. “As long as a country is running a primary deficit, extending the fiscal targets will automatically mean that there will be an additional external financing need.”

Speaking on Monday, Westerwelle said the bailout’s substance was “not negotiable” but creditors might be willing to offer flexibility on timing for some of the targets, given the time lost in campaigning. “We’re ready to talk about the time frame as we can’t ignore the lost weeks, and we don’t want people to suffer because of that.” 

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