Greece’s new PM sets to make 1st visit to Brussels next week

Greece’s new PM sets to make 1st visit to Brussels next week

BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
Greece’s new PM sets to make 1st visit to Brussels next week

Greece’s new prime minister, Tsipras, is expected to make his first visit to the EU capital next week. AFP Photo

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras plans next week to make his first visit to Brussels since coming to power promising to renegotiate his country’s international bailout, an EU spokesman said Jan. 30.

European Commission President Jean-Claude “Juncker spoke on the phone with Prime Minister Tsipras on Jan.  26 night and they agreed that a visit would be envisaged for next week,” commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a press conference.

A specific date has still to be set, he added.

Tsipras’ new hard-left government began its term this week by scrapping key privatizations and other reforms required under its Brussels-led 240-billion-euro ($269 billion) bailout program.

In Athens, Tsipras met Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, on Jan. 29 and was due to host talks later Friday with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup.  
EU officials have said they expect the new Greek government to stick to commitments made by its predecessors to maintain austerity measures in return for the bailout.  
“Greece must comply with Europe,” Juncker said in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro published Thursday, stressing that “there is no question of cancelling the debt”.

“We respect the popular vote in Greece, but Greece must also respect others, public opinion and parliamentarians from the rest of Europe,” Juncker said.

“Arrangements are possible, but they will not fundamentally alter what is in place.”
Tsipras, whose left-wing Syriza party swept to power on Sunday pledging to end painful austerity after six years of recession, told his first cabinet meeting that Greece was no longer willing to bow to the “politics of submission”, in a clear swipe at creditors the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls sought to reassure Chinese concerns about the eurozone on Jan. 30, insisting that Greece will stay part of the single currency.