Dutch Finance Minister Says His 'Patience Has Run Up' With Greece

Feb 15, 2012
Originally published on February 15, 2012 5:23 pm

NPR's Eric Westervelt scored an interview with Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager. And Eric reports that he did not mince words.

The Netherlands and Germany, which have AAA credit ratings, hold great sway in whether Greece will receive a $170 billion bailout from the European Union and the IMF. Without it, Greece would default on its debt and would almost certainly exit the monetary union. Eric asked Jager if Greece needed to do more beyond the tough set of austerity measures Parliament passed on Sunday and this is what Jager told him:

"We do want to see more guarantees in place by implementing in law some of the measures that are absolutely needed in the next two weeks before we can give a final 'yes' to the package.

"It is fair to say that my patience also has run up, so that's why I say we have to see the evidence of implementing the measures into law and just promises are not enough, not anymore."

Today the Greek conservative opposition leader, Antonis Samaras, who is widely expected to become the country's next prime minister, met one of the demands when he pledged in writing that he would remain committed to the austerity measures if his party takes power in the next election cycle.

Eric will have much more of his interview with the Dutch finance minister on tonight's All Things Considered. Tune in to your local NPR member station to listen.

Correction at 3 p.m. ET.: In an earlier version of this post, we said the second Greek bailout by the "troika" was of $170 million. It is in fact 130 billion euro or about $170 billion.

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