Greece’s problems are euro zone’s problems and the single currency area should send Greece a message of solidarity as Athens stands ready to deliver on promises to reform in exchange for more loans, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said.
“Greece has already started fulfilling its commitments mentioned in the Eurogroup decision of 20 Feb so we are doing our part and we expect our partners to do their own,” Tsipras told reporters after meeting the speaker of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.
“And I’m very optimistic…that we will find a solution because I strongly believe that this is our common interest. I believe that there is no Greek problem, there is a European problem,” he said.
Euro zone finance ministers agreed on Feb 20 to extend Greece’s financial rescue by four months, averting a potential cash crunch in March that could have forced the country out of the currency area.
But the extension was granted to give Athens time to negotiate a list of reforms by the end of April that would unblock further aid to the country, whose leftist-led government pledged to reverse austerity.
Tsipras, who was also meeting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday, called for a change in the message the euro zone was sending Greece.
“Now is the time to give a message of hope to the Greek people, not only implement, implement, implement and obligations, obligations, obligations,” he said.
“The message that the European institutions will give help and solidarity with particular rates, in order to over come this very bad situation at the social level,” he said referring to the unemployment rate at 26 percent.
“Because we are pro-European and we want to go on together in a common future, I believe that in the end of the day we will solve all these misunderstandings and we will go on with this honest compromise that we did on the 20th February,” he said.
“Our intention is to implement this decision in a constructive way in a way that will help Greece to overcome the crisis and Europe to overcome the crisis,” Tsipras said.
Juncker told reporters before his meeting with Tsipras that progress on a deal between Athens and its creditors had been insufficient and said he would make “proposals” to overcome the differences.