The Greek delegation’s hopes of raising the issue of a possible restructuring of the Greek debt at the EU Summit discussions were quickly dispelled on the first day, as EP President Martin Schulz denied he had taken any initiatives to bring the matter to the table of talks. The overall atmosphere among the EU leaders at the meeting was one of indifference, or even annoyance, on the Greek demands regarding debt relief, proving the Greek PM Alexis Tsipras’s high expectations on presenting the case at the current timing false.
Tsipras will attempt to push his case anew, Friday morning, when he is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Franocis Hollande and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker.
Martin Schulz did not hide his discontent when asked during a press conference, after a meeting with Tsipras, about whether he had undertaken any initiatives to bring the Greek debt relief to the table of talks at the Summit, by flatly denying it. “I heard that rumour and cannot respond. I was surprised to hear rumours that the European Parliament would assume any initiatives “, he said.
Earlier the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble was even tougher on the matter, stressing that any debt relief at this stage would diminish the will for reforms in Greece.
On his part, ECB President Mario Draghi underlined that as long as Greece did not implement reforms there was no chance of it being included in the quantitative easing plan.
Greece’s PM focused mainly on the refuge crisis during the first day of the Summit. He requested “effective solidarity” to Greece to deal with the refugee problem, stressing that the county was being shouldering the complete burden of the problem. Tsipras pointed out that out of the planned 66,000 relocations of refugees to other EU member states, only 5,200 had been realised so far. “We need effective solidarity and not ‘flexible’ solidarity”, he underscored. The Greek PM proposed Turkey be given a clear answer on the travel visa matter of Turkish nationals to the EU, in order eliminate any pretexts President Erdogan could use to doubt the EU-Turkey refugee deal.