EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on Friday for European governments to show solidarity with Greece and resolve a credit crunch that risks dumping it out of the euro zone.
Their comments, as the bloc’s German paymaster presses its demands that Athens’ new leftist government honor commitments to international creditors, highlighted Juncker’s concern over a risk of grave damage to the EU, but may also fuel suspicion in Berlin that the EU Commission could try to water down any deal.
On the day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said publicly that Greece might stumble out of the euro zone because its leaders had failed to negotiate new borrowings, Juncker sounded a note of urgency to EU governments.
“I don’t think we have made sufficient progress,” he told reporters as he welcomed Tsipras to the European Commission. “I will make certain proposals to my friend Alexis.
“I’m totally excluding a failure … This is not a time for division. This is the time for coming together,” he said, praising Tsipras for following a “pro-European track”.
Commission officials say Juncker, a long-time premier of Luxembourg who took over the EU executive in November, fears some leaders may be underestimating the damage “Grexit” — or “Grexident” — would do to European integration.
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