"We want Greece to be economically strong, to grow and to be out of high unemployment, particularly among young people." These are the words said by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a press conference in Berlin with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. For his part, Tsipras cited the issue of German war reparations: "It's not a material problem but a moral one to overcome fascism and nazism."
On the issue of compensation, however, Tsipras has received a resounding 'no' from the Chancellor, while providing a hitherto unprecedented openness to dialogue on the subject: "the talks will continue."
The rest of the meeting was in name of 'diplomacy'. "We have to understand each other better," Tsipras said as prime minister of Greece. "It's better to talk among us than let others talk about us," he added. "Perhaps you have a different impression, but the relations between us are really good."
If the atmosphere in Berlin seems well-wishing, it's not the same in Brussels, where they raised their voice. "It is no longer time for statements. It's time to work," the spokesman for the EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker said. Words must be translated into action. The commission expects the complete list of reforms. A list in which it seems there will be, among other things, a pension reform that will raise to 67 the age of retirement.
Tsipras, during the press conference, described his vision of the problem: the program addressed by Athens in the last five years "is not a success story" and has "had terrible effects" with "enormous social impacts". Athens "wants to respect the treaties", but needs some corrections.
Germany backs off: "We want you to be rich, but we are not the ones who will evaluate the progress." The steps Athens will undertake, however, remain in the background: Germany "is not the institution" that can evaluate the path Greece will submit to the "three institutions," the Chancellor said, following a well know diplomatic rule: never mention the Troika.