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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday that eurozone lenders and Greece should reach a technical deal before a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on April 7, as reported by Reuters.
The IMF is pushing Greece on the contentious issue of labor reforms in order for the country to join an 86 billion euro bailout program which makes it easier to fire workers by weakening trade union bargaining powers. Greece says this would go against EU principles.
Juncker declined taking a clear stance while responding to a letter by Greek PM Tsipras that criticized the IMF. In the letter — also sent to European Council President Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni — Tsipras asked if the “European acquis is valid for all member states without exception, or for all except Greece.” Juncker responded that on his part there is no doubt that the EU social acquis applies to Greece as to any other EU member state.
“There is no ‘one-size-fit-all’ in the social acquis or in the economic textbook when it comes to organizing collective bargaining. Let me add that there is no place for ideology either,” Juncker said.
The next meeting of eurozone finance ministers is scheduled in Malta on April 7. “Ideally, we should be in a position to present a staff-level agreement by then and we will continue to support you to that end,” Juncker said.