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Juncker: ‘Tsipras must tell Greeks he will break some of his promises’

A barrage of statements on the Greek debt

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker emphasised this week that new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must explain to the Greek people that not all of his pre-election promises can be kept.

Juncker’s statements came in an interview published on Wednesday by the Spanish mass daily El Pais.

Underlining that national elections of one country cannot change existing agreements with the European Union, Juncker said Tsipras has taken a fundamental step, by starting to assume responsibility for his government’s actions.

“However, he now faces the following problem: He has to explain that some of his campaign promises cannot be kept,” the EC head added.

“He raised the right questions, but never provided answers for them,” Juncker said of Tsipras, noting that with regard to Greece and its program, there are another 19 official opinions that count in the Eurozone.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem also stated in an interview with a Dutch TV network that the Greek government won the elections with promises they cannot keep.

“There’s a lot of rhetoric in Greece,” the Eurogroup president said, expressing his frustration with the Greek Government for not proceeding with the reforms quickly enough.

“They won the election by making many promises which they have no financial ability to keep,” Dijsselbloem said, adding that there is still much to be done.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also sent a stern message to the Greek government on Wednesday, keeping to his hard-line stance on the Greek bailout extension issue.

In an interview with a German newspaper, the German FinMin underlined that before any further financial aid can be disbursed, the Greek government must prove that it has fulfilled conditions of its bailout program.

“Athens has to prove that it has fulfilled the agreed conditions, before any further finds can be disbursed” Schaeuble said, adding that “how long Greece needs to fulfill the terms” is up to Athens.

Schaeuble also warned the Greek Finance Minister against trying to change the terms of the current agreement, stating that if Yanis Varoufakis “declares that the Eurogroup’s agreement with Greece is unclear, he will do so against his better judgment.”