Juncker ′still waiting for alternative Greek reform plans′ | News | DW | 07.06.2015
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Juncker 'still waiting for alternative Greek reform plans'

EC President Jean-Claude Juncker says Greece has not yet presented a counterproposal to an EU loan deal Athens rejected last week. But he reaffirmed that a Greek eurozone exit was not an option.

Juncker, speaking ahead of the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria on Sunday, said he was still waiting for Greece to produce the set of economic reform plans it had promised after rejecting creditors' demands last week.

"(Greek Prime Minister) Alexis Tsipras, my friend, had promised that by Thursday evening, he would present a second alternative proposal... I have never received this alternative proposal," Juncker said.

Juncker vented some frustration at Greece's tardiness, saying that while he considered Tsipras a friend, "to remain friends one has to respect some minimum rules."

His remarks come after Tsipras on Friday slammed as "absurd" last week's proposals put forward by the European Commission, which included sales tax rises and cuts in civil servants' salaries in return for unlocking the last tranche of Greece's bailout.

'Terrorist proposal'

Calling the EU proposals "borderline insulting," Tsipras told the Greek parliament that his government would not sign the deal without restructuring of Greece's massive debt.

Alexis Tsipras and Jean Claude Juncker laughing together Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire URN:23086895

Tsipras' friendship with Juncker is seemingly under strain

Echoing these views, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told the Greek Proto Thema daily on Sunday that proposed reform plan was "an aggressive move designed to terrorize the Greek government," adding that "this Greek government cannot be terrorized."

The current Greek government, led by the Syriza party under Tsipras, rode to power on the back of promises to end austerity in the struggling nation.

Greece's bailout agreement with international creditors expires at the end of June. If it fails to come up with the money for loan repayments and defaults on its debt, it could potentially lead to the country's exit from the single euro currency.

No 'rabbit in the hat'

Juncker, however, continued to reaffirm that a "Grexit" was not on the cards - but did warn that he could not "pull a rabbit out of a hat" to stop it happening.

In a sign of the country's growing financial problems, Athens this week failed to come up with a 300 million euro ($334 million) loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund, saying it would instead pay four scheduled tranches in one lump sum at the end of the month.

The total sum would be 1.6 billion euros, money Greece is unlikely to be able to scratch together without a deal with its EU-IMF creditors.

Tsipras is expected to negotiate again with eurozone leaders on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

Greece's creditors have been demanding for months that Athens carry out a number of economic reforms in order to access the remaining 7.2 billion euros of a bailout worth altogether 172 billion euros that was granted in 2012.

tj/bw (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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