Handelsblatt: Merkel ready to consider specific measures for easing Greek debt

Germany’s chancellor is apparently willing to meet the IMF halfway and specify possible measures for easing Greek debt very soon, according to a report carried in the German newspaper “Handelsblatt” on Friday.

Citing information from sources privy to the meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, the newspaper said that the measures could then be implemented as early the summer of 2018, after the German elections. It also noted that Eurozone finance ministers had already decided to adopt measures easing Greek debt after the end of the bailout programme, if necessary.

Merkel and Lagarde also went over the steps that must be taken and their order, the newspaper reported, noting that Greece must first meet its commitments to carry out agreed reforms. According to Handelsblatt, Athens has not yet implemented all agreed prior actions and must also vote for structural reforms that will go into effect in 2019 and 2020.

Merkel and Lagarde agreed on the need to step up pressure on Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to complete the reforms and conclude the second review and only then will the debt relief measures be specified, the paper added.
It noted that the German side is prepared to consider an extension of the loan repayment period but not a reduction of interest rates, which Berlin says could lead to a transfer of capital from Eurozone states to Greece.

The newspaper’s article was reported by Deutsche Welle.