Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he is very optimistic that mediation efforts between Athens and its international creditors will succeed.
Now is the time to give a message of hope to the Greek people, not only implement, implement, implement and obligations, obligations, obligations.
Greece’s problems are the eurozone’s problems and the single currency area should send Greece a message of solidarity as Athens stands ready to deliver on promises to reform in exchange for more loans, Tsipras said.
“Greece has already started fulfilling its commitments mentioned in the Eurogroup decision of 20 Feb so we are doing our part and we expect our partners to do their own,” Tsipras told reporters after meeting the speaker of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.
“And I’m very optimistic… that we will find a solution because I strongly believe that this is our common interest. I believe that there is no Greek problem, there is a European problem,” he said.
Eurozone finance ministers agreed on February 20 to extend Greece’s financial rescue by four months, averting a potential cash crunch in March that could have forced the country out of the currency area.
But the extension was granted to give Athens time to negotiate a list of reforms by the end of April that would unblock further aid to the country, whose leftist-led government pledged to reverse austerity.
Tsipras, who was also meeting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday, called for a change in the message the euro zone was sending Greece.
“Now is the time to give a message of hope to the Greek people, not only implement, implement, implement and obligations, obligations, obligations,” he said.
But Juncker said recent progress has been too slow.
“I’m not satisfied with the developments in recent weeks,” Juncker said. “I don’t think that we have made sufficient progress, but we will try to push in the direction of a successful conclusion of the issues we have to deal with.”
Meanwhile German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said the lack of progress increases the chances of an accidental Greek exit from the euro.