Merkel's right-left coalition has a big enough majority to easily win a vote, expected on February 27, on extending the 240 billion euro international rescue for four months. It is set to prevail, despite vocal pockets of resistance on the right and left.
But Schaeuble made no attempt to hide his own misgivings.
Revelling in the role of grumpy euro zone paymaster, he said it had been hard to accept Athens' new reform pledges and took a fresh swipe at leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for his campaign promises to scrap the reforms prescribed by Berlin.
"It wasn't an easy decision for us but neither was it easy for the Greek government because (they) had told the people something completely different in the campaign and afterwards," the veteran minister told SWR2 radio on Wednesday.
"The question now is whether one can believe the Greek government's assurances or not. There's a lot of doubt in Germany, that has to be understood," said Schaeuble.
Nevertheless he has asked the Bundestag lower house to vote by Friday, when the bailout was due to expire, and he joined Merkel on Tuesday and Wednesday to lobby coalition lawmakers.
With a small group of hardliners from Merkel's conservative bloc agitating against approval and an INSA poll showing only 21 percent of Germans back an extension for Greece, Schaueble made clear Greece was not getting softer conditions, only more time.
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