European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici on Monday expressed their readiness to hear and discuss the demands of the new Greek government as they arrived for a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels. At the same time, both European officials said that Greece must meet the commitments agreed upon.
Juncker stressed that the European Commission will work with any democratically elected government that comes to power but also noted that there are rules agreed together with Greek authorities.
“We will see what the demands of the new Greek government are and we will discuss them, regardless of its composition, as we do with all governments,” Juncker said, adding that he was not in any way worried about the matter. Regarding an agreement on Greece’s debt, Juncker said that there were discussions with the outgoing Greek government and that the Commission will continue them with the new government.
Asked if he had already spoken with Greek Prime Minister and SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, Juncker quipped that a Greek Prime Minister had other things on his mind today than talking with the European Commission President.
Moscovici said it was positive that the Greek government will be formed from today, since that will allow the Commission to work quickly with Greek authorities. He noted that the Commission and Greece had common goals and the discussion would focus on how to achieve them.
“We want to see Greece stand on its feet, to be able to create jobs, growth, reduce inequality and pay its debts, something that is fundamental,” Moscovici said.
The French Commissioner noted that the new Greek government had its own program and priorities but also emphasized the need for constructive dialogue with the new Greek authorities.
He said he was convinced that both sides will work together toward the same goals, in order for Greece to become strong and have a creative economy that meets the needs of its people, with the primary target of keeping Greece in the euro.
Moscovici expressed hope that Monday’s Eurogroup meeting will send a clear message that will allow the resumption of talks with Greece on a positive and constructive basis and with respect for the commitments that have been agreed to.
On the issue of Greece’s debt, he stressed that the Greek program’s review must first be continued and concluded, and that the matter will be discussed at a later stage.
Asked about the future of the EU/IMF Troika, Moscovici noted that the presence of the institutions that offered assistance will always be needed, though possibly in a new form. The return of growth and reduction of unemployment was “positive,” he added, and said these gains should not be jeopardized.
Finally, the French Commissioner said that he had not yet met the new Greek Premier, adding that the door of his office at the Commission was open.