Greece too slow to address mounting debt, says president of EU commission

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission has criticised the sluggish pace of progress in talks over Greece’s mounting debt.

In meeting with Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Mr. Juncker said he was not satisfied. The Greek PM is in dire need of EU support for reforms in order to unlock vital funds for his country and avoid the possibility of bankruptcy and being ejected from the Eurozone.

Mr. Tsipras has pledged to end austerity measures in Greece, such plans have been opposed by Greece’s EU creditors. Greece managed to negotiate a four month extension on its bailout terms last month after heated talks with creditors.

Hoping to persuade EU leaders of its promise and worthiness of credit, Greece has announced a series of reforms, but it would still like the EU to agree new, more lenient terms for the repayment of its debts.

In the eventuality that no agreement is reached, Greece risks being unable to meet its agreed payments. In the next two weeks alone it will need to find €6bn to pay its creditors.

Mr Juncket also said that he was “not satisfied with the developments in recent weeks”.

“I don’t think that we have made sufficient progress, but we’ll try to push in the direction of a successful conclusion of the issues we have to deal with.”

“I am totally excluding a failure, I don’t want a failure. I would like Europeans to go together. This is not the time for division,” he said.

Speaking alongside Mr Juncker, Mr Tsipras said he remained optimistic. “If there is political will, everything is possible,” he said.

In a previous meeting with Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, Mr. Tsipras urged the EU to back growth in Greece. “Now is the time to give hope to the Greek people, not only ‘implement, implement, implement’ and ‘obligations, obligations, obligations,'” said Mr Tsipras.
Analysts described last months’s interim bailout agreement as a climbdown for the Greek government, which gained power in the country under the promise that it would have half of the Greek debt re-written off.
Even if the bailout extension is approved, Greece still has a huge mountain to climb in meeting its debt obligations.
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