NEWS

Tsipras to see Juncker with goal of fast review

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Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Wednesday, a day before a summit of European Union leaders, to discuss the pending bailout review.

The Greek government hopes that the discussions will help convince Juncker to do all that he can to ensure that the review is concluded as soon as possible. Athens is still placing faith in the effect that political pressure can have on the process. It had hoped that Tsipras might also be able hold a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, as well as Juncker. However, this plan did not materialize.

Answering questions in the European Parliament on Monday, Draghi would not be drawn on when the current review might be completed. “It’s too early to specify a precise timetable,” he told MEPs, stressing that the “credibility” of the review is as important as concluding it promptly.

The ECB chief added that Greece developing a strategy to manage nonperforming loans (NPLs) would be an important part of the review.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said that talks between Greece and its lenders are “constructive” but that Athens would also have to play its part so they can be wrapped up swiftly.

“The European Commission will do everything in its power to reach a swift conclusion of the review, but obviously this does not just depend on us,” he said.

Athens has sent its updated proposals to the institutions, which are now studying them. The government also has to change its tax reform plan after the initial one was rejected by the lenders.