Merkel, Tsipras to discuss Greek financial situation December 16

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) attend a European Union leaders summit on migration in Brussels, Belgium, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Berlin on Friday, one day after a summit of European Union leaders in Brussels, a government spokeswoman said on Monday.

The spokeswoman said Merkel and Tsipras will read out statements before the meeting, which will not be followed by a news conference.

“The themes are the (peace) negotiations in Cyprus, the refugee situation, the relations between the EU and Turkey, and on the margins also naturally Greece’s economic and financial situation,” Ulrike Demmer told a regular government news conference.

Heavily indebted Greece, which is on its third international bailout since an economic crisis began in 2010, is at odds with lenders over fiscal targets and the scope of reforms required to conclude its latest review on bailout progress.

Asked if German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, blamed by many in Greece for imposing harsh austerity measures on their country, would also meet Tsipras, Demmer said: “The meeting will be between Mr. Tsipras and the chancellor.”

Greece, which was last week granted short-term debt relief by its euro zone partners, hopes that a deal with its lenders could allow its inclusion in the European Central Bank’s asset purchase program by the spring of 2017. That would open the door for the country to then test markets with a debt issue later in the year.

Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos told Reuters on Monday that Athens wants to end the standoff with lenders through ‘honest compromise’, indicating a willingness to give ground on reform. But he warned that inflexibility on their part could inflame anti-establishment sentiment in Europe.

The International Monetary Fund, which has said Greece’s debt is unsustainable, will decide on its participation in the bailout program once a second review of its economic progress is completed by lenders.

Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Catherine Evans