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Merkel and Tsipras tight-lipped on Brussels talks

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Merkel and Tsipras tight-lipped on Brussels talks
Chancellor Merkel and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras. Photo:DPA
10:27 CEST+02:00
Chancellor Merkel and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras met in Brussles on Thursday in what the Chancellor described as “constructive” talks.

The talks, which overran by around fifty minutes, were strictly confidential, leading the German press to speculate widely as to their success.

According to the the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the aggressive tone of negotiations between Athens and Berlin that has characterised the past months has all but evaporated.

Greek demands for Second World War reparations have disappeared from the public eye. Diplomats in Brussels complain that the phone line to Athens has gone dead, suspecting that the left-wing Syriza government is too busy on the phone to Germany, the centre-left daily writes.

Bild has a rather different take on the success of the meeting.

The right-wing tabloid quotes unidentified German delegates as saying that the Greeks have “totally lost touch with reality.”

FAZ Online quoted Tsipras as saying “I'm very optimistic that we're nearer to an agreement than at any previous point.”

Merkel said, “everything must be done to hinder” a Greek bankruptcy.

Greece is reported to be on the brink of bankruptcy, with a deal to free up a fresh cash injection from the “Troika” of money lenders stalled by a dispute over domestic reforms.

The next crucial step in the saga is a meeting of European finance ministers in Riga being held on Friday.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble last week ruled out the idea that a deal could be reached at the meeting or at any point in the near future, accusing Tsipras' government of “totally destroying” progress on Greek reforms.

Optimism in Athens that a deal can be hammered out is growing as the stock market jumped three percent in early trading on Friday - although earlier this week Greek stocks had fallen to their lowest level since 2012.

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