Tsipras: EU principles based on democracy, not blackmail

The European Union’s founding principles were based on “democracy, equality, solidarity and mutual respect” and no one had the right to put them in danger said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras following a EU summit in Brussels on Friday.

Also on Friday, Tsipras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to discuss the latest developments with regard to ongoing negotiations between Greece and the institutions in view of reaching an agreement before the country’s bailout program expires on June 30.

Sources indicated that at the meeting Tsipras told Merkel and Hollande that Greece did not understand the institutions’ insistence on tough measures. The same source suggested that the Greek premier also reiterated the government’s demand for the inclusion of debt relief and a growth package in a possible deal.

Meanwhile, government sources indicated that on Friday the Greek delegation was returning to the technical level negotiating table with a set of “improved proposals.”

Earlier on Friday, eurozone finance ministers said in a note that Greece could receive 16.3 billion euros in aid – available to Greece under the terms of the current bailout – to repay maturing debt in the coming months if the standing bailout was extended by five months.

Tsipras was expected to return to Athens on Friday afternoon where he was due to head a cabinet meeting focusing on recent developments and preparations for Saturday’s decisive Eurogroup meeting in Brussels.

[Kathimerini, Reuters]