Alexis Tsipras got a demonstratively warm welcome to Brussels from EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker, who walked off hand-in-hand for talks with Greece’s new prime minister after exchanging a kiss on the cheeks for the cameras.
Wednesday’s negotiations may be less harmonious. Juncker, conservative president of the European Commission, had warned Greek voters against choosing radical leftist Tsipras and his plan to scrap an EU bailout deal that has brought austerity. The new premier is sticking to demands that Brussels change course.
The 40-year-old Tsipras, his tieless open collar marking him out from most other visiting leaders, made no statement as he and Juncker shook hands and kissed. The Luxemburger, 20 years his senior, then grabbed Tsipras’s hand and, smiling in response to laughter from reporters, walked him off to their meeting. [Reuters]