BERLIN, Jan 18 (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is preparing for a continuation of aid for Greece without the involvement of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Germany’s Bild newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Talks between Athens and foreign lenders on its bailout progress have dragged on for months due to differences on labour and energy reforms as well as on fiscal targets and debt relief measures. The IMF has said it will only be involved if it is the last bailout for Athens and includes debt relief for Greece.
The German government would like the IMF to participate in the bailout programme to boost its credibility but Berlin is against granting Athens significant debt relief.
The Finance Ministry is preparing for a vote in the Bundestag lower house of parliament in case the IMF refuses to take part, after Schaeuble previously promised the Bundestag the rescue package would only be approved if the IMF was involved and keeping tabs on Greek reforms, Bild said.
The newspaper, which did not name its sources, said Schaeuble thinks the hole left by the IMF should be filled by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) - the euro zone’s bailout fund, Bild said.
The German Finance Ministry was not immediately available for comment.
Bild said the Bundestag would vote on the modified programme for Greece before a federal election due to take place in September.
Last week Schaeuble proposed turning the ESM into a European monetary fund to improve the management of crises in Europe. (Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Dominic Evans)