German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Germany wants a strong Greece with growth and reduced unemployment, while urging Greece to continue structural reforms.
"We want Greece to be economically strong and have growth," Merkel said in a joint press conference with her visiting Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras in Berlin, adding that the high unemployment in Greece, especially that in the youth, should be reduced.
Earlier, she received Tsipras with military honors at her Chancellery and held talks which she described as in "a spirit of cooperation."
Merkel declined to clarify her attitude towards bailout payments to Greece, saying those decisions should be made by euro zone instead of by Germany.
However, she said structural reforms and solid budget were needed for a prosperous Greece.
For his part, Tsipras said both sides should better understand each other instead of stereotyping each other.
"Neither the Greeks are lazy, nor the Germans are to be blamed for the ills in Greece. We need to work hard to overcome these terrible stereotypes," he told reporters.
Tensions between Berlin and Athens intensified in recent weeks as Greek newspapers caricatured Merkel and her finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble as Nazis while polls in Germany showed that most Germans believed Greek government were not reliable, and Greece should leave the euro zone.
Tsipras said the austerity program, a precondition for bailout to his country, had "a devastating impact" on Greek economy, and he was seeking "common ground" with his European partners to find solutions to the disagreements about his country's reforms and bailout disbursement.