US Calls for Greek Reforms as Athens Nears Energy Deal with RussiaSoutheast Europe | April 18, 2015, Saturday // 16:00| views
US President Barak Obama (L) talks with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (R) during a reception in the White House in honor of Greek Independence Day, in Washington, DC, USA, 16 April 2015. Photo: EPA
US President Barack Obama called on Greece to carry out reforms in order to secure further bailout from its international creditors.
Obama urged Greece to initiate reforms, collect taxes, reduce bureaucracy and introduce more flexible labour practices, daily Kathimerini reports.
Obama and Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had an informal meeting at the sidelines of an event honouring the Greek Independence Day in the White House.
Varoufakis met with European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi in Washington on Friday discussing the way negotiations should proceed before the Eurogroup meeting on April 24.
According to sources, Greek officials and representatives of the ECB, European Commission, IMF and the European Stability Mechanism are to meet on Saturday in Paris.
The participants in the meeting are to resume negotiations on the reforms, which Greece has to adopt, before being granted more bailout.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who participated in a joint press conference with Obama, similarly called on Greece to implement reforms.
Renzi highlighted the importance of achieving an agreement between Greece and its international creditors.
At the same time it emerged that Greece and Russia are working on a memorandum for the construction of a natural gas pipeline on Greek territory.
According to sources, the memorandum could be signed as early as next week in Athens with the participation of Energy Minister Alexander Novak on behalf of Russia, the Greek Reporter informs.
The new project, which will connect to a pipeline supplying Russian gas to Turkey and southern Europe, is expected to become operational in 2016.
The estimated cost of the pipeline, which will run from the Greek-Turkish border to that with Macedonia, is EUR 2 B.
According to some sources, Russia will make an advanced payment on future profits from transit fees.
The payment, which could be as high as EUR 5 B, could be the key to solving the default, which is threatening Greece at present.