German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that a diplomatic offensive by newly elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to ease bailout-aid requirements is failing to win over converts.
“I don’t think that the positions of the member states within the euro area with regard to Greece differ, at least in terms of substance,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin after meeting with Malta’s premier, Joseph Muscat.
While Tsipras has retreated from demands for a writedown of Greece’s debt, yielding to virtually unanimous opposition in the 19-member bloc, his pledge to increase spending and roll back austerity threatens to collide with conditions of aid commitments totaling 240 billion euros ($275 billion).
Tsipras and his finance chief, Yanis Varoufakis, fanned out this week across Europe after their Syriza party’s anti-austerity campaign swept them into office, upending Greece’s political establishment. Their demands for overhauling the terms of Greece’s bailout package have been met with resistance and alarm in Berlin and Brussels.
“We want to re-correct this framework, not to smash this framework,” Tsipras told reporters today in Brussels after meeting European Parliament President Martin Schulz. “We believe that with this framework, we would find a common viable solution for our peoples, a common perspective.”