NEWS

PM has ‘tough negotiations’ in Brussels and Paris

Prime Minister George Papandreou had ?tough negotiations? with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels on Wednesday night before flying to Paris to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Greek government spokesman told reporters.

Late on Wednesday night, shortly after Papandreou and Van Rompuy finished their talks, the government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis referred to ?tough and difficult negotiations that will continue into the future.?

The talks, which lasted about an hour, focused on the economic affairs of Greece and the European Union as well as developments in Libya and the broader North African region where pro-democracy protesters have risen up against several regimes.

On Thursday, Papandreou is to meet Sarkozy in a bid to sway the French leader ahead of a summit of euro zone country leaders on Friday. The summit this week is seen as a precursor for an EU summit on March 25 where Greece is to push for better borrowing terms and an extension to the period granted for the repayments of some 110 billion euros in emergency loans, hence the current flurry of diplomacy.

Addressing his cabinet on Wednesday, Papandreou said he would push for a ?comprehensive solution? in Brussels. He said this would demand ?tough negotiations? but that Greece was better equipped to fight its corner now than it was a year ago when the extent of its debt crisis first became apparent. Papandreou added that he faced a similarly tough battle at home against certain groups with vested interests ?which do not want to change, which do not even want the law to be enforced.? ?Our country must change and will change,? Papandreou told his ministers.