EU’s Katainen Firm on Greece’s Debt

Greece΄s new government is unlikely to win support from other eurozone governments to cut its debt, a top European Union official said Wednesday, reiterating the bloc΄s firm line on the country΄s bailout terms following Sunday΄s general elections.

“It΄s difficult to see a majority in the Eurogroup [of euro-zone finance ministers] for a haircut for Greece,” said Jyrki Katainen, a former Finnish prime minister who is currently the vice president for jobs and growth at the European Commission, the EU΄s executive arm.

“The real economy hasn΄t changed after the elections, the situation is still the same,” Mr. Katainen said at a news conference in Brussels. “I don΄t expect that many changes from our part.”

Greece΄s leftist Syriza party won a general election Sunday on a platform to substantially relax the country΄s bailout terms, which many Greeks blame for aggravating its economic crisis. But the country΄s international creditors have indicated there is little room to veer from its commitments.

Speaking to the European Parliament Tuesday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece΄s problems were the result of decades of failings by the country΄s elite rather than decisions made in Brussels or Berlin.

EU authorities are ready to speak with their counterparts in Greece “as soon as possible,” Mr. Katainen said. But there are “still the same commitments made by the Greek people toward other European citizens,” he added.