Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a meeting earlier today on the sidelines of the European Union summit on migration policy. According to the first reports emerging from the two leaders’ meeting, Merkel pushed Athens to proceed with speedy economic reforms, while on his behalf, Tsipras reportedly said Greece has done its part and it is now the European partners’ turn to do theirs, while he requested acceleration of procedures to implement the agreement reached between the two sides on the February 20 Eurogroup.
Moreover, an unnamed Greek official, cited by Reuters, said the meeting, which was their first since Tsipras visited Berlin on March 23, was held “in a positive and constructive atmosphere.” The Greek official, who gave no further details of the two leaders’ discussion, said that “during the meeting, the significant progress made since the Berlin meeting was noted. The Prime Minister asked that the procedures be sped up so that the February 20 decision, which foresees a first interim agreement by the end of April, be implemented.”
At the same time, Eurozone officials said little progress has been made in detailed negotiations on a Greek economic reforms program, partly because Athens has denied creditors’ representatives access to state accounting data. On the flip side, Greece insists it has implemented 70% of those agreed and the rest 30% is to be covered by mutual compromises.
An agreement is needed to unlock international bailout funds before Athens runs out of cash. The Greek government had reached an agreement with its European partners in February, which among others indicated that the two sides would strike a deal on a comprehensive list of reforms in order to disburse the remaining 7.2-billion-euro installment from the 240-billion-euro bailout program by the end of April. Eurozone officials had expected the revised list on Friday, during the Finance Ministers’ meeting to be held in Riga, but such hopes appear to be slim.
The Greek Prime Minister is also expected to meet with French President Francois Hollande, who will reportedly ask for the implementation of “what was agreed in Berlin.”