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Schaeuble expects Greece reform review to be finished in April

Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble

Greece’s international lenders expect to have finished verifying that Athens has carried out promised reforms by the time of the Greek Orthodox Easter in late April or early May, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Tuesday.

A first review of economic reforms under the bailout plan agreed last August, which Greece wants concluded fast to allow it to open talks on debt relief, has been held up by disagreement among the lenders over how much more Athens needs to save in public spending, notably on pensions.

Schaeuble declined to link a possible delay in implementing reforms with the growing number of migrants stranded in Greece after its northern neighbour Macedonia stopped letting them through unchecked.

“Trying to use the refugee challenge as an excuse not to fulfil the conditions of the programme is obviously complete nonsense,” Schaeuble said.

Greece has said it is unable to cope with the build-up of migrants since the closure of the “Balkan route”, which was used by more than a million people last year to reach more affluent countries further north.

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