Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomed the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, at the Maximos Mansion on Thursday afternoon.
According to sources, the top German EU official was visiting Athens in an effort to scout the new administration’s intentions and positions vis-a-vis the country’s European partners and creditors.
Prior to arriving in Athens, Schulz on Wednesday warned Greece against taking an independent stance over EU sanctions against Russia regarding Ukraine. Speaking on German radio, Schulz voiced his “dismay” that Greece had “abandoned the joint position of the European Union on Russia.”
According to sources the Greek government was irked by the German official’s comments, indicating that the new administration’s position was that unanimity would not be reached in the absence of dialogue and the agreement of all member-states. The government, sources indicated, had expressed its discomfort over the fact that Schulz had tied financial issues to the Russia sanctions issue, as the latter was being discussed in a EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday.
While in Athens, Schulz was also expected to meet with former premiers Antonis Samaras and George Papandreou as well as former Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
Following Schulz, Eurozone President Jeroen Dijsselbloem is expected for talks with Tsipras and other Greek officials in Athens on Friday.