Merkel says 'still convinced' Greek debt deal possible

AFP , Thursday 18 Jun 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the session of the German lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, June 18, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was convinced it was still possible to reach an accord with Greece on its crippling debt crisis, ahead of crunch EU talks Thursday.

"It remains the case that Germany's efforts are aimed at keeping Greece in the eurozone," she told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

"I am still convinced -- where there's a will, there's a way. If the political leaders in Greece demonstrate this will, then a deal with the three institutions is still possible."

The eurozone finance ministers were due to meet in Luxembourg as Greece negotiates with the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund on the last 7.2 billion euro ($8.1 billion) tranche of its massive international bailout.

Merkel said Germany, the largest single state contributor to the rescue package, was guided by the principle of European "solidarity" in exchange for "crucial" economic reforms.

She pointed to the relative success stories of Ireland, Spain and Portugal, which she said were "now standing on their own two feet" after fulfilling the terms of their own bailout agreements, while Cyprus was "on the right track."

"These countries seized the opportunities presented to them," she said.

"They implemented painful structural reforms and thus created the basis for new growth, new competitiveness and new jobs, although the path wasn't easy and these countries are still grappling with the consequences of the necessary adjustments."

Merkel said that the far-left government of Greece, by contrast, had failed to live up to its obligations to get its finances in order.

"Important reforms were put off," she charged.

"We want the people of Greece -- like the people of Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus -- to have a chance at a better future."

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