Juncker due in Athens for talks, seeks to bring ‘hope’

European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker is due in Athens on Monday for talks with government officials and to deliver a message of “hope” two months before he takes up his new position in Brussels.

“My priority… is jobs, growth and investment and I am pleased to be going to Greece to discuss these priorities,” the former Eurogroup chief said in a statement on Friday.

“I want to send a message of hope and optimism by recognizing the efforts of the Greek people and the Greek government in reforming their country,” he said.

Juncker is due to meet Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at noon on Monday. The two men, who maintain a close relationship, are expected to hold a joint news conference after their talks. It is likely that one of the top subjects during the discussions will be what portfolio Greece’s new Commission representative, Defense Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos, will take up later this year.