Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, speaking about his country’s debt crisis, said on Friday that “there is no Greek problem, there is a European problem”, noting that Athens is meeting its commitments. He asked European partners for solidarity.
“We are doing our part and we expect our partners to do their own,” Efe news agency quoted Tsipras as saying following his meeting with Speaker of the European Parliament (EP) Martin Schulz who noted that more dialogue was needed between Greece and the other member states and institutions of the European Union (EU).
“Greece has already started fulfilling its commitments mentioned in the Eurogroup decision of February 20,” said Tsipras, adding, “I’m very optimistic that we will find a solution because I strongly believe that this is in our common interest.”
The Eurozone decisions lend themselves to different views and interpretations which lead to tensions, said Schulz, who noted that he has advised the Greek prime minister to try to resolve tensions in the following days in Brussels.
He also considered it necessary to resolve outstanding “problems”. Schulz stressed that these were “difficult times”, and noted that he spoke with Tsipras about what could be done to solve immediate and long term problems, with a focus on generating growth and jobs.
“Our intention is to implement this decision in a constructive way, in a way that will help Greece to overcome the crisis and Europe to overcome the crisis,” said Tsipras.
Tsipras noted that he has spent 90 percent of his time discussing short-term issues with partners to achieve the goal of commitment, and so it was now time to look to the future.
During the meeting, both officials focused on steps to take after a solution was found, and they agreed to seek funding for Greece from the Youth Guarantee, the main European Union entity to tackle youth unemployment.
They also agreed to maintain contacts between the EP, Athens and the EC to create a specific plan for Greek investment with a strategy of sustainable growth and jobs for the next four months, said Schulz.
The period is dedicated to covering the new extension on bailout repayments granted to Athens, during which they will try to reconcile the measures that Tsipras wants to apply with what the creditors and the Eurozone consider necessary.
Minutes after the meeting, Tsipras was received at the European Commission headquarters by its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, the institute being part of the triad of international creditors formerly called troika, a name rejected by Athens.
The European Commission, or EC, wanted to help, Juncker told reporters, while noting that he would address the issues on the table with Tsipras. He stressed that he wanted to be helpful, but the EC must make decisions in the framework of the Eurozone.
Juncker noted, however, that he was not satisfied with the developments in Greece, referring to the lack of progress since February, but was nonetheless optimistic, saying that he expected a successful conclusion. “I think if there is political will, everything is possible,” he added. (IANS)