Eurogroup chief in Athens for talks with Tsipras, Varoufakis

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem was meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens on Friday and was to hold talks later in the day with Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, essentially heralding consultations between the new Greek government and its European partners.

Dijsselbloem was expected to press the new government to respect commitments related to the country’s bailout programs despite leftist SYRIZA’s pledges to revoke tough austerity measures.

Varoufakis, for his part, was expected to press creditors to reduce the target for Greece’s primary surplus, from 4.5 percent of gross domestic product to around 1 percent.

On Thursday the Greek Finance Ministry said the Eurogroup leader’s visit marked the beginning of negotiations between Greece and its partners “which will lead to a viable, comprehensive agreement to reconstruct our social economy.”

Varoufakis is to travel to London on Sunday to meet his British counterpart George Osborne as well as investors in the City before flying to Paris on Monday to meet French Finance Minister Michel Sapin and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron. Varoufakis is to meet Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan in Rome on Tuesday.