LIMASSOL, Cyprus (MNI) – If Greece fails to meet its fiscal
commitments, then the debt-plagued country cannot expect any additional
financial assistance from the Netherlands, Dutch Finance Minister Jan
Kees de Jager said Saturday.

Greece must “live up fully to the IMF conditions and if not…we
also will not pay out” additional funds to aid the country, he warned at
a press conference following a meeting of IMF constituent members.

“It is vital that Greece implement all these measures of the IMF
because otherwise the Netherlands, but also Germany, Finland and other
countries will follow the IMF” in refusing additional disbursement, he
said bluntly.

“This is completely independent of any discussion of reprofiling or
soft restructuring,” he added, noting that there is a working group of
the Eurogroup currently doing research on the “possibilities of soft

“Soft reprofiling would as such not have a haircut but would mean a
lengthening of maturities of Greek bonds — otherwise it wouldn’t be
soft anymore, probably,” he explained.

The view of the Netherlands on Greek efforts to regain fiscal
health, he said, is that “the only way of going forward” is to implement
“the right austerity measures, economic reforms, structural reforms, the
privatization program.”

Greece is suffering from “structures that prevent full
competition,” he said. “We have to demolish those structures that
prevent the Greek economy from growing.”

De Jager said “the Greek government has to outperform market
expectations, and it means that they have to do at least what’s in the
IMF program” of fiscal consolidation and reform. “Rising social unrest
is not any excuse,” he said. Greece must follow the program to the

“If there is anything to do, it’s about more reforms, more
austerity measures and more privatization,” he said. “I know the
situation, there is unrest, it’s disturbing of course, it’s a sad
situation in Greece, but as we know from the past, the most difficult
measures…will also be the best ones for the Greek people.”

“Otherwise I see scenarios that are much worse for the people of
Greece,” he warned.

De Jager had little to say about Portugal and Ireland, the two
other Eurozone member states currently in comparable programs, other
than to affirm that “we expect good results” from them.

In other comments, the finance minister vowed that European
authorities “will stand behind the euro and defend the euro.”

–Frankfurt bureau tel.: +49-69-720142. Email:

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