German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has for the first time admitted that Eurozone has the tools to support Greece without the participation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the programme, Greek government sources said on Friday in response to the German minister’s interview in the newspaper “Suddeutsche Zeitung”.
According to the sources, this was the first time that Schaeuble publicly made this admission, which the Greek side had supported for roughly two years. They also noted that the German finance minister had made no reference to a “fourth memorandum” but instead proposed that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) continue with the third Greek programme, after this was approved by the Bundestag.
The sources also highlighted Schaeuble’s statement that there would be no reaction from within his party if the IMF did not participate “because we genuinely want the agreements to be upheld” and that “if these are not respected by others, then the present programme will be concluded and new negotiations will be needed.”
In other words, the Greek sources concluded, “Wolfgang Schaeuble notes that we will proceed with the present third programme that we have agreed, which will be implemented by the ESM if the IMF departs and only ‘if this is not respected by others will new negotiations be required’.” The sources also pointed out that the current programme was an ESM programme anyway, with the IMF in the role of technical advisor, and that on the basis of European rules and agreements, the planning and monitoring of ESM programmes is undertaken by the European Commission.
According to the government sources, meanwhile, if the IMF departs the second review will be completed immediately without additional measures, since the current dispute was structural between the European institutions and the IMF.