Greek hopes that a new German Social Democrat finance minister may be more amenable to Athens, took a setback on Wednesday.
A close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters the work of Wolfgang Schaeuble — notorious in southern Europe for insisting on financial discipline — would continue irrespective.
Acting finance chief Peter Altmaier was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We will make sure that the successful work of Wolfgang Schaeuble is carried forward.”
Months of political deadlock in Germany could be coming to an end, and although Merkel will remain in power it is possible that control of the finance ministry may be ceded to her center-left rivals in the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
SPD mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, has been nominated as new finance minister, if party members agree to a deal with Merkel’s Christian Democrats this weekend.
However, any SPD finance minister would be bound by a deal hammered out with Merkel’s conservatives, meaning Greek hopes of an easier time from Berlin may not be realistic.