EU's Juncker more hopeful on talks with 'beloved' Greece

GMT 17:06 2015 Wednesday ,25 March

Arab Today, arab today EU's Juncker more hopeful on talks with 'beloved' Greece

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
Brussels - AFP

EU Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday that talks on Greece's bailout were back on track after weeks of tensions that have raised fears of a near-broke Athens plummeting out of the eurozone.
Juncker said he had spoken to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras by phone on Tuesday and confirmed that Athens was expected to send Brussels a list of key reforms by early next week at the latest, as agreed at a summit last week.
"I have to recognise that I was very pessimistic during the last weeks because there was no progress whatsoever, but now we are back in a normal process," Juncker said during a session at the European Parliament.
"I do think that we will come to a conclusion which would be both in favour of Greece, my beloved Greece, and of the European Union," he added.
Former Luxembourg prime minister Juncker has been a key broker in recent weeks between the under-fire Tsipras and sceptical eurozone leaders who have grown impatient with Greece's repeated delays in enacting reforms.
Athens has faced a cash squeeze since the EU and IMF refused to disburse the remaining seven billion euros of Greece's 240-billion-euro bailout after Tsipras's leftist Syriza party came to power in January promising to roll back austerity measures.
Time is running out for Greece, with huge payments due its creditors in the next weeks. The government's coffers are believed to be close to empty, with 15.5 billion euros in debts coming due through August.
Last week Tsipras promised to speed up reforms and provide a new list of measures to creditors within days, following talks in Brussels with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and the leaders of the the EU institutions, including Juncker.
"We do think that the Greek government would be best inspired to present us a list of immediate reforms to be undertaken," Juncker said Wednesday.
"Prime Minister Tsipras whom I talked to yesterday night is ready to present these reforms by the end of this week, the beginning of next week."
Tsipras meanwhile paid a sensitive visit to powerful Germany on Monday, where he and Merkel both called for an end to the bitter recriminations that have split the countries in recent weeks.

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