German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble made certain clarifications on his stance toward Greece during an interview with French newspaper Liberation, in Brussels.
During negotiations for a third Greek bailout package in July, the German finance minister had proposed to the Greek government a temporary exit from the currency union, with a return a few years later, so that Greece’s debt could also be restructured.
He explained to Liberation that 15 out of 19 Eurozone finance ministers embraced the idea of a Grexit after believing that Greece would not implement a new bailout program. Cyprus, France and Italy were the only nations that disagreed with a Grexit.
Schaeuble claimed that the proposal for a “timeout” was aimed at helping Greece.
“Greeks are a great people, but Greece is not a state,” he said using European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s phrase. The German Finance Minister claimed he had met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Berlin prior to his electoral victory in January 2015 and told him that it is not possible for Greece to remain in the Eurozone without implementing necessary reforms.