Schulz upbeat on Tsipras plans to tackle tax evasion, reach deal with lenders

European Parliament President Martin Schulz expressed optimism on Thursday about a solution being found between Greece and its lenders, while stressing support for the new government’s plans to tackle tax evasion.

Schulz was in Athens to hold talks with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras as well as other officials. He is the first European official to visit Greece since Sunday’s elections led to a SYRIZA-led government taking over.

“I have rarely felt during my time in office that I have had as constructive and open discussion,” said Schulz after the meeting at the prime minister’s office.

“There is an impression within the European Union that the new Greek government will try to follow a separate path,” he said. “But I have discovered today that this is not the case.”

“I am very pleased that fighting tax evasion is one of your priorities,” he added.

Tsipras said that he had presented an “extensive” plan of reforms to the German politician.

“We are negotiating with our European partners to ensure that we find a mutually acceptable solution,” he said.