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What Enda told Alexis Tsipras as everyone STILL waits on Greece to sort itself out

The Taoiseach had a word with his Greek counterpart in Brussels today.

Belgium EU Summit Source: Francois Mori/PA

ENDA KENNY HAS revealed details of the advice he gave to his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras as the prime minister of the debt-stricken nation pledged details on planned reforms in the coming days.

After crisis talks between Tsipras and European leaders in Brussels over the last 24 hours, EU authorities pledged €2 billion in unused EU development funds to Greece.

In return Tsipras has promised to speed up reforms and provide a new list of measures to Greece’s creditors in coming days. He held talks with the leaders of Germany, France and the EU institutions last night.

Tension has mounted between Athens and Brussels since radical leftist Tsipras was elected in January promising to cut back on five years of austerity and renegotiate Greece’s debt arrangements.

Greece has been lobbying for Brussels to release the last tranche of its EU-IMF bailout to help it make payments to creditors and avoid bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro.

enda alexis Enda Kenny speaking to Alexis Tsipras in Brussels Source: RTÉ Player

Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting in the Belgian capital this afternoon, the Taoiseach told reporters of a conversation he had with Tsipras:

I had a discussion with him there before I left just again pointing out that just a very short time ago Ireland was in a very different position than it’s in now and that following the changes that were made, the difficult decisions that were made, the sacrifices made by the people that we’re growing in the right direction, fragile though it is.

Kenny said he made the point during the meeting that finance ministers Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin had build “a connection with the Troika” where it agreed to “not to increase income tax, not to tax employment, not to reduce basic rates of social protection”.

He added that Ireland had been able to replace Troika proposals with some of its own measures aimed at growing employment.

Kenny specifically cited the VAT cut in the hospitality industry which created 30,000 new jobs and “which was very much in line with the principle of where we wanted to be”.

enda-close-up A close-up of Enda Kenny in Brussels this afternoon Source: European Council

Kenny added: “Within the framework that now exists Greece is getting time and space to make its own recommendations to what is best in its interests here within that framework. ”

He said that if it does not accept a Troika proposition than the Greek government must come up with its own alternatives, saying “our alternatives were in line with creating jobs”.

Tsipras has continued to talk tough on Athens’ refusal to implement austerity measures, saying ”Greece will not be forced into recessive measures”.

The current assumption among European leaders is that Greece only has enough cash to meet all of its obligations until sometime in April.

- with reporting from AFP

Read: Presenter admits faking video of Greek Finance Minister giving middle finger

Read: Greece should take Ireland’s ‘middle road’ on debt – not the ‘nuclear option’

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Hugh O'Connell

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