March 14, 2010 / 2:46 PM / in 8 years

"No need" for Greek bailout decision - German finance minister

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said there was no reason for Euro zone finance ministers to make any decision on financial aid for debt-ridden Greece when they met on Monday.

<p>German Interior Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble speaks during a presentation of charity sport stamps at the Finance Ministry in Berlin February 10, 2010. REUTERS/Thomas Peter</p>

“There are always rumors, especially ahead of such meetings,” he told German newspaper Bild, in an interview published on its online service on Sunday.

“But there are no new factors. Therefore, there is no reason to take decisions on financial aid on Monday.”

Schaeuble echoed comments made on Saturday by French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde, who said it was too premature for a decision to be made on aid.

Finance ministers from the 16 countries using the euro, the Eurogroup, meet on Monday in Brussels to discuss the Greek debt crisis and the country’s progress in introducing austerity measures necessary to regain the confidence of markets.

Schaeuble, who was admitted to hospital last month for a planned operation, said he could be discharged on time to participate in the Eurogroup meeting on Monday afternoon.

A European Union source told Reuters that Eurogroup finance ministers are likely to agree on Monday on the principles and parameters of financial help to Greece, if it is required, but leave out any sums until Athens asks for them.

British newspaper The Guardian reported that aid to be made available to Greece could reach 25 billion euros. Greece’s borrowing needs for the whole of 2010 total 53.2 billion ($73.2 billion) euros.

Schaeuble said the Eurogroup needed to solve the Greek crisis itself, “otherwise the United States and China will no longer take us seriously.”

The finance minister, who has called for the creation of a European Monetary Fund which could offer help to euro zone states facing bankruptcy, said such a fund could not solve the problems currently facing Greece.

“We have to solve this crisis with the existing instruments and the Greek government deserves great respect for its savings efforts,” he said.

Schaeuble added that the resolution of the Greek crisis would be “decisive in setting the course for the stability of the euro.”

Reporting by Sarah Marsh

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