Germany's finance minister sees chances of economic recovery for Greece and is expressing some understanding of voter frustrations that led to the election victory of the populist party now trying to secure more lenient bailout terms from the EU.

Wolfgang Schaeuble says Greece is "not a hopeless case" and notes that until recently it was making better than expected progress in reducing its debts and reforming its economy.

Popular discontent with the hardships caused by the reforms led to the defeat this year of the mainstream government coalition and the election of the left-wing Syriza party, which is trying to renegotiate its bailout commitments.

Schaeuble alluded to the defeat of the coalition Thursday, saying its attempts to gradually accustom Greeks to reality was "not easy to sustain politically."