- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Finance ministers to mull Greek future
BRUSSELS — Greece’s international creditors appeared split Monday on whether they are ready to take decisive action to help Greece dig out of its mountain of debt and get back on the path to growth.
Greece is waiting for the next $40 billion installment of its bailout loan before it faces a bond repayment Friday that it may not be able to afford without the tranche, and it has passed a series of reforms this week to meet the conditions of the loan.
But in recent months, it has become clear that the country’s bailout program is way off track, and deep disagreements persist among its creditors on how to right it. Those disputes have been partly responsible for holding up the disbursement of the latest batch of loans.
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the group of finance ministers from the 17 euro countries, said Monday that Greece’s international creditors have prepared a “positive” report assessing Greece’s progress — but it is not complete. It doesn’t address the crucial question of debt sustainability.
He spoke as he headed into a meeting of the finance ministers expected to tussle with that question. Current projections suggest Greece won’t make the 2020 deadline for slashing its debt to 120 percent of its gross domestic product.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece can’t receive the next installment of its bailout loan until that problem is solved.
“We first have to see if Greece has delivered,” he said, as he headed into the meeting Monday. “I have not seen this.”
Still, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said the ministers had to reach some sort of overarching agreement on how to move forward on Greece.
“I hope tonight we can find a political agreement in order to say we can go on with the Greek program, let’s put the problems behind us and let’s rebuild confidence in the eurozone,” he said.
He added that the ministers couldn’t ignore the tremendous sacrifices Greece had made in recent days, approving a raft of reform measures and an austerity budget for next year.
“There were these votes, they were courageous,” Mr. Moscovici said. “We shouldn’t turn a deaf ear.”
Christine Lagarde, president of the International Monetary Fund, sounded a similar note.
“Greece has done an awful lot of work, and now it is time for the creditors to do the same,” she said. What the country needs, she said, is “not a quick fix but a real fix.”
The issue of Greece’s debt is a divisive and important one. If Greece’s debts can’t be reduced to a level where the country no longer relies on further international bailouts, then the $305 billion in bailout loans already agreed for Greece will have been wasted.
Current projections suggest Greece is far from reaching its 2020 debt-to-GDP deadline.
Greece has been asking for more time to implement reforms and budget cuts — hoping that a slower pace will release the stranglehold such cuts have on the economy. The country is in a deep recession heading into its sixth year, with more than a quarter of Greeks unemployed.
Without growth, Greece can’t ever hope to collect enough in taxes to put a dent in its debts.
But easing up on the timeline will cost more money, and politicians in other countries are nervous they won’t be able to sell that to voters. Some countries are also irritated that Greece has consistently missed the deadlines set for it.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow