NEWS

EU officials gently prod on reforms

eu-officials-gently-prod-on-reforms

Most European officials welcomed Alexis Tsipras’s election victory on Monday but coupled their congratulations with a subtle nudge on the need for Greece to move forward with reforms.

In a letter to Tsipras, European Council President Donald Tusk said he hoped the outcome of the elections “will now provide the political stability to face all the challenges at hand.”

“Your dedication and leadership in implementing the economic adjustment program is crucial in order to make a difference in the recovery of the Greek economy,” Tusk wrote to Tsipras. Tusk referred to the migration crisis which European Union leaders are to discuss in Brussels tomorrow and said he hoped Tsipras will “contribute constructively in seeking solutions.”

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker struck a similar tone. “We have much work ahead and no time to lose,” he wrote to Tsipras, adding, “We will support the new government in its efforts.”

Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem wrote on Twitter that he was looking forward to “continue accompanying Greece in its ambitious reform efforts.”

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert was blunter. “The third bailout program remains valid also beyond election day,” he said.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz was the only prominent EU official to openly express dismay over the election outcome.

In comments to France Inter radio, he said he did not understand Tsipras’s decision to realign with Independent Greeks.

“I called him… to ask why he was continuing a coalition with this strange, far-right party,” Schulz said. “He pretty much didn’t answer.”