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04/06 -Tsipras meets Juncker in Greece’s “last chance” to avoid insolvency

Most EU media outlets report that Greek PM Alexis Tsipras met with EC President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday evening in Brussels – later joined by Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem – to discuss a solution to the country’s current crisis. “The negotiations over Greece’s urgent economic problems have reached their final stage”, writes Annika Ström Melin in Dagens Nyheter and according to El País, European institutions and Greece believe they are getting closer to reaching the end of winding negotiations launched in February to alleviate the country’s difficult financial situation.

TOK FM reports that ahead of the meeting, EC Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva also said that it was a critical junction for all parties to the talks and that it was pivotal that a bridge connecting them over all differences was built. BNR adds that she warned that achieving a deal was important “not only for Greece, but also for Europe as a whole”. EC spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said that the meeting was dedicated to discussing the state of negotiations between the Greek Government and European institutions, and added that further intensive work on all levels are necessary to successfully conclude the talks. He stated that no specific outcome was expected after the meeting, as it is the “first such discussion, and possibly not the last one”.

Yet La Repubblica states that according to rumours, the stalemate in talks with Greece is over, as Germany and France have accepted that Greece can reduce its primary surplus, a sticking point in negotiations. Naftemporiki and the INYT indeed report that before his meeting with President Juncker, Alexis Tsipras had a new “constructive” teleconference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, and the three leaders agreed that a “direct solution” was needed, agreeing on lower primary surpluses for Greece.

Alexis Tsipras reportedly proposed a 0.8% surplus for 2015 and 1.5% next year. According to El País and the INYT, President Hollande thus said he foresees there are “days or hours left” to strike an agreement. However, Kathimerini reports that a chasm still separates Athens from the institutions after the almost five-hour meeting. On WDR, Rolf-Dieter Krause notes that it is unlikely than an agreement will be reached today. If Mr Juncker and Jeroen Dijsselbloem do what the Eurogroup expects, they will not negotiate the reform list of Mr Tsipras, but rather focus on the Eurogroup’s suggestions, he says.

On NDR, Ralph Sina comments that while Athens is optimistic that the new list will satisfy lenders, this should be doubted: painful reforms to both the labour and pensions sector have been excluded, both of which were required by the IMF. For the British press, Greece’s government is “digesting a take-it-or-leave-it offer” from its creditors. Many media believe that the creditors have to make sure that this is Mr Tsipras’ last chance to avoid Greece’s insolvency. Kathimerini highlights that a new meeting with the same composition will take place on Friday, in an effort to reach an

©europeanunion2015

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