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Greece must 'abide' by bailout terms - Germany

Greek pensioners protest in Athens, 18 Dec 14 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Pensioners are among the angriest groups after years of painful austerity

The German government expects Greece to uphold the terms of its international bailout agreement, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

But spokesman Georg Streiter declined to comment on reports that Berlin is now content that the eurozone could withstand Greece's exit from the bloc.

Greece is holding a general election later this month, and anti-austerity party Syriza is ahead in the polls.

Syriza wants to renegotiate the terms of its international bailout.

Under those terms, the so-called troika - EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank - supported Greece with the promise of €240bn (£188bn) in return for budget cuts and economic reforms.

"Greece has fulfilled its obligations in the past. The German government assumes it will continue to fulfil its contractual obligations to the troika," Mr Streiter told reporters.

"Every new government has to abide by the contractual obligations of the previous government."

Turnaround

The stability of the eurozone has once again risen up the political agenda with the rise of the anti-austerity party Syriza, on course to win the 25 January snap election, according to polling.

On Saturday, Der Spiegel cited sources saying that both Mrs Merkel and finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble now believe the eurozone has introduced enough banking reforms and support to withstand a Greek exit.

Berlin also feels that the once-troubled countries of Ireland and Portugal have made good progress in strengthening their economies, the report said.

The Syriza party, led by Alexis Tsipras, has pledged to reverse reforms imposed by Greece's international creditors and renegotiate its bailout deal.

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