Tuesday 19 September 2017

Talks due to avoid Greece running out of money

Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and Taoiseach Enda Kenny pose for a group photo during the European Union leaders summit in Brussels. Photo: REUTERS/Francois Lenoi
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras and Taoiseach Enda Kenny pose for a group photo during the European Union leaders summit in Brussels. Photo: REUTERS/Francois Lenoi
Daniel McConnell

Daniel McConnell

Intensive talks between Greece and the Troika are to take place over the weekend to avoid it running out of money, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

Speaking at the conclusion of a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels late last night, Mr Kenny said newly elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to the talks after a face to face meeting with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

Mr Tsipras who campaigned on an anti-Troika platform during his historic election, told his fellow leaders that he wants to honour contracts that have been entered into them.

"The language is of restructuring not of default," a senior EU source said last night.

Greece's willingness to at least engage with the Troika was seen as positive but the task of cobbling a deal together in time for the finance ministers' meeting on Monday is "complicated and complex", Mr Kenny said.

Referring to the hostility among EU leaders to Mr Tsipras' calls for debt forgiveness, Mr Kenny said: "There is a very strong willingness within the EU council to work with Greece to find a way forward, but there was also a very strong view here that rules have to be adhered to."

The Taoiseach revealed what Mr Tsipras said to his counterparts during their six hour meeting.

"The prime minister spoke to the EU council in formal session for the first time. He set out his view as to what he wants for his country and his people. He mentioned two things in particular, the principle of democracy and the second thing was the principle of rules," said Mr Kenny.

"He made the point that there had been an election in Greece, a change of Government and that has to be reflected and recognised. Secondly, in respect of rules, he said where there are contracts, they have to be honoured," he added.

Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb, speaking to the Irish Independent, said that Greece cannot be given any "free rides" as this would be "unfair" to Ireland.

Mr Tsipras campaigned on an anti-Troika platform and his calls for debt forgiveness have met with opposition.

Much of the resistance to a debt deal for Greece arises as about €100bn is owed to the Italian and Spanish governments rather than banks.

Irish Independent

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