Saturday, March 21, 2015

Merkel sets strict terms for Greek aid, Juncker flags EU cash

March 20, 2015

European Union leaders welcomed a pledge on Friday from Greece to meet creditors' demands for a broad package of economic reform proposals within days to unlock the cash Athens needs to avoid stumbling out of the euro zone.

After overnight crisis talks on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels, new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the bloc's main paymaster, offered somewhat divergent understandings of how much Athens must do and how quickly. But EU officials insisted there was a broad agreement to act now on an accord struck a month ago.

Merkel said Greece, which faces a cash crunch within weeks, would receive fresh funds only once its creditors approve the comprehensive list of reforms Tsipras promised to present soon.

But she signalled some flexibility on what reforms Tsipras would have to make -- crucially giving his leftist-led coalition the chance to offer alternative savings strategies that will help it persuade its voters it is breaking with what Tsipras calls the failed austerity policies of his defeated predecessor.


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