Government sources on Tuesday indicated that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been trying to drum up support for Greece’s demand for debt relief from foreign creditors.
Tsipras is said to have spoken by telephone on Monday with French President Emmanuel Macron and also with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, is one of Greece’s staunchest critics and opposes debt relief unless the bailed out country adopts stricter austerity measures.
The Greek prime minister is also said to have spoken on Tuesday with European Council President Donald Tusk.
Tsipras’s charm offensive comes just a couple of weeks ahead of the next scheduled meeting of eurozone finance ministers on June 15, where Athens hopes to secure a solid commitment for debt relief after it was denied at a Eurogroup meeting last week.
Athens has been banking on some form of debt relief that would allow it to enter the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program and also to tap international markets after the expiry of the current bailout program in end-2018 once they are confident that Greece’s debt is on a sustainable path.
Hopes for the former, however, were dashed on Monday night by European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, who told European Parliament that the ECB will not consider including Greece in its quantitative easing program before its bailout review is wrapped up and its debt is made sustainable.