FRANKFURT (MNI) – Germany should hold fast on its tough position
with Greece to ensure that fiscal reforms are completed without delay,
Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager said in an interview with
Germany daily Financial Times Deutschland released Thursday evening.

“I say to the German government that it is best to stick with a
strict position” on Greece. “Delaying the right measures will not help
anyone, not even the Greeks,” De Jager said.

“Our help is not unconditional,” said De Jager. “We in the
Netherlands and people in Germany have taken very tough measures and
continue to so today, to keep public finances sound.” he said, adding
that it is only natural to expect the same of Greece.

De Jager argued that it is getting “increasingly difficult” to
explain aid to a domestic audience that has seen its government
exercising strict austerity.

De Jager still suggested he could be open to Greece’s request for a
delay in reaching its fiscal targets, but only if this was the result of
a further economic weakening and did not represent a loosening of the
government’s deficit-cutting measures.

“If it means further delaying savings measures and economic
reforms, then we are completely against it,” he said.” If delay means
that the deficit goals are met one year later because of an unexpected
economic downturn, then we will have to wait for the Troika’s decision
on Greece.”

— Frankfurt bureau: +49 69 720 142; email: —

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