It is “perfectly feasible” for Greece to complete the second program review with its lenders on a technical level in time for the next Eurogroup meeting on March 23, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday, during a joint press conference with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at the Maximos Mansion.
Muscat is on official visit to Athens as part of his whirlwind tour of six European capitals to discuss migration, security and the EU’s economy.
“We are in the phase of negotiations. It is perfectly feasible to complete the review at a technical level by the next Eurogroup on March 23. We’re working hard so that on March 23 the review will be filly completed,” Tsipras said, responded to a question by Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
Asked the same question, Muscat said the Greek government has made significant progress and many colleagues in Europe share the opinion that with the current government there is a serious effort to do things right.
Concerning the future of the European Union, Tsipras said the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty finds Europe facing serious dangers, such as euroscepticism, which is largely in due to the fact that the EU stopped being attractive to its citizens because of the austerity policies. On the other hand, he continued, there’s a democratic deficit and citizens don’t feel they are participating in political developments. If these concerns are not taken into account, Europe will be left watching developments and the powers of euroscepticism take the lead, he added. “The anniversary must not be commemorative, but one of reflection and redefinition of the direction that will make the European project attractive to its citizens again,” he said.
On his side, Muscat said a social pillar should be an integral part of the EU’s future. “In Greece I found someone who fully shares my view,” he told journalists. The Maltese premier said some member-states have different views and should be convinced on the need to forge ahead, so that there is a real vision for better social conditions and less unemployment.
Tsipras: Europe needs union, cohesion and solidarity
“Europe needs union, cohesion and solidarity,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday said welcoming the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat at the Maximos Mansion.
“I want to welcome you to Athens once again. I am looking forward to working with you; we are facing a lot of challenges”, Tsipras said and added: “Your presidency coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaty and believe that it is this one opportunity to convey our European vision to our citizens. And I believe that we can work together to convey the positive signals for our common future, positive signals to our citizens why Europe needs union, cohesion and solidarity.”
On his part, Muscat said: “It is a great pleasure for me to be back here in Athens. Τhis is the third month of our presidency and we are trying to give a European perspective as well as a Mediterranean one. Moreover, we have started an important discussion on migration. What we started a month ago with the Conference of Mediterranean countries has already brought some positive results. And this is not a closed club. We have communicated all these to the rest of Europe. We are trying to discuss many issues. I hope this is what we will do in Rome, and I am sure that we will lay the foundations for the future. The European Commission should give guidance on our future in Europe and our strategy for dealing with the Brexit as well as other very important issues such as migration. We have already made progress on certain issues. Of course we were divided over the migration issue, but we have launched an important debate on the issue. I also want to discuss it with you. Although we have a common understanding about these things, we must talk over our common positions and how we can make progress in these six months of our presidency.”/IBNA