German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece will have to stay with austerity no matter who wins the Jan. 25 elections.
Germany is the biggest contributor to two bailouts of 240 billion euros ($306 billion) from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) but insisted on big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings in return.
Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras – who had opposed the terms – implemented them as soon as he took office but now is backing away from what he did after it decimated support for his coalition government, which includes the PASOK Socialists.
“The election won’t change the basic conditions,” Schaeuble said in an interview broadcast on N-24 television in a shot at the anti-austerity poll-leading major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) that has said it wants to revise the terms or walk away from the debt.
“Whichever government it is, whoever wins the election, must see that Greece – with a lot of solidarity from Europe – will continue on this path, a lot of progress has been made,” said Schaeuble, the leading taskmaster of austerity for Greece.