BERLIN — Germany’s economy minister has rejected calls for Greece to get more time to implement economic reforms, saying Sunday that Athens needs to respect the bailout deal reached with its international creditors.
Philipp Roesler’s comments to ZDF public television followed a visit by Greece’s prime minister to Berlin on Friday, during which Antonis Samaras told Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, that his country needs ‘‘time to breathe’’ before it can make all the budget cuts and reforms demanded as part of its $300 billion bailout.
‘‘What the Greeks have asked for, half a year or two years, that’s not doable,’’ said Roesler, who is also the vice chancellor in Angela Merkel’s coalition government. He added that ‘‘time is always money’’ and all parties had agreed that additional funds for Greece weren’t up for debate.
Roesler, the leader of Germany’s pro-business Free Democratic Party, has taken a hard line on Greece. Last month, he caused an outcry in Greece by suggesting the idea of the country leaving the 17-nation eurozone had ‘‘lost its horror.’’
That appeared to put him at odds with Merkel, who has always insisted that Greece should remain in the euro zone.
But his latest views were echoed by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who told a newspaper in comments published Sunday that ‘‘more time generally means more money and that quickly means a new [bailout] program.’’
Merkel on Sunday dodged questions on the subject during an interview with German public TV station ARD. She insisted that ‘‘we are at a crucial moment in the fight against the debt crisis and that’s why I think we should all weigh our words carefully.’’
France’s president, Francois Hollande, urged Greece on Saturday to do more to show its commitment to reforms.