Spanish official slams Greece, says time ‘running out’


CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP

“We have wasted very precious time over the last three or four weeks,” de Guindos said in an interview Friday with The Associated Press. “They have not made a lot of friends.”

Greece has relied on loans from European creditors and the International Monetary Fund since 2010. It is in talks over the conditions for its next loan installment, without which it could default as soon as next month. That has sent Greece’s borrowing costs soaring.

De Guindos says he hopes significant progress in the negotiations will occur before a European finance ministers meeting May 11.

“Time is running out,” he said.

De Guindos spoke on the sidelines of the semiannual meetings of the IMF and World Bank. He criticized Greek officials for previously raising the specter of default, only to then reverse themselves.

Greek’s Syriza Party was elected in January on a promise to end crippling austerity measures. Yet in February it agreed with its lenders to propose a series of economic reforms in order to obtain a 7.2 billion-euro loan.

Without those funds, it may not be able to pay the IMF about 1 billion euros that it owes next month. Yet Germany and other European nations have criticized Greece this week for failing to propose sufficiently broad economic reforms as a condition for the loan.

De Guindos sounded a similar note Friday. Greece’s government needs to privatize state-owned companies, cut red tape and continue to reduce spending, he said.