Dombrovskis in Riga: Greece must make 'meaningful response'

Latvia's European Commission Vice President, Valdis Dombrovskis, signaled Monday that the EU was willing to compromise with Greece on its stalled bail-out package, but that Athens needed to raise its game to avoid dire consequences.

Speaking to the press during the launch of the First Innovative Enterprise Week in Riga, Dombrovskis said: “From the European commission point of view, from the institution point of view we're ready to continue talks but what is now needed is a meaningful proposal from the Greek side."

“What needs to be provided is a clear and credible exit strategy of Greece in terms of exiting the crisis, about how to return to financial stability and economic growth. From the institutions' point of view we have been quite flexible throughout our conversations, substantially lowering the primary surplus targets, also changing in the view of the real economic situation in Greece.”

“We are ready to replace some of the program measures if the Greek authorities disagree, with other measures of equal fiscal value but then the Greek authorities need to propose those measures."

“We are ready to work very intensively but now it really takes political will from the Greek side to come up with a credible proposal,” Dombrovskis said

He also signaled that contingency plans would need to be in place should Greece fail to meet its end-of-June deadline.

"We see that this programme is extended until the end of June and we are already in the middle of June, agreement is not reached yet even though agreement at technical level was expected to be reached by the end of April. So of course we need to think what are the possible next steps and how we can move further: whether for example there is an extension of the program, whether there are some other plan, but once again from the European Comission point of view we see successful completion of the program as by far the best scenario, but for this to succeed it's important that both sides, including Greece, stick with their commitments." 

Earlier, Dombrovskis struck a more upbeat note at the launch of a new initiative by the European Commission, European Investment Fund and European Investment Bank to co-finance innovative start-up businesses.

Europe looks relatively stable with GDP set to rise by 1.8% in the EU and by 1.5% in the euro area in 2015, he said, adding that economic growth in the European Union "is benefiting from positive tailwinds." 

The new Horizon2020 will provide €70.2 billion for research and development by 2020, Dombrovskis said.

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