Germany insists that Greece agrees to a “far-reaching reform package” with its foreign lenders, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters on Monday.
Signaling a tough stance in debt talks between the left-wing Greek government and its creditors–the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, German finance ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said it wouldn’t be enough for Greece to agree to half-hearted reforms.
He pointed to the need for Greece to overhaul its labor market, reform its service sector and pursue privatizations.
“The aim of these individual measures is to restore Greece’s debt sustainability,” said Mr. Jaeger.
Without such debt sustainability, there won’t be a successful conclusion to the existing bailout program, he added.
Germany, along with Greece’s other creditors, insists the program that expires at the end of June must be concluded before Athens can get a much-needed slice of its next EUR7.2 billion ($7.9 billion) aid tranche.
Pressure has been mounting for an end to the deadlock in talks between the Greek government and its international creditors. Greece has to repay almost EUR1.6 billion of debt to the IMF by mid-June, but some official comments out of Greece suggest it might not have enough cash to make the payments.
In another sign of how urgent the crisis is, Ms. Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker are expected to discuss Greece in a meeting in Berlin later Monday.
Ms. Merkel’s spokesman said Greece wouldn’t be the main issue at Monday evening’s meeting, but Mr. Juncker said over the weekend that he would be very surprised if Greece wasn’t a major topic of discussion.