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EU won't change everything to please Greece: Juncker

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European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned Greece's new government on Tuesday that Brussels will not change all of its rules just to solve the debt crisis in Athens.

[BRUSSELS] European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned Greece's new government on Tuesday that Brussels will not change all of its rules just to solve the debt crisis in Athens.

Greece's new leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to meet Juncker on Wednesday for talks on the government's plans to reduce its debt and end austerity policies.

But Mr Juncker, the former Luxembourg premier who now heads the European Union's executive branch, said Athens could not hold the rest of the 28-nation bloc to ransom.

"We have to take into account the democratic expression of the Greek people, whom I admire greatly for their courage and their way of doing - and not doing things," Mr Juncker told the European Parliament.

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"But those who won the elections in Greece... must also take into account the convictions and methods of others. It's not just one EU member that has expressed a democratic choice, there are other public opinions too.

"So, yes we have to rearrange some of our policies, but we will not change everything just because there has been an electoral result which pleases some people and displeases others."

The new Greek government led by Mr Tsipras's radical Syriza party is currently touring European capitals seeking support for their proposals to end the debt crisis.

Two international bailouts have left Greece with debts of more than 315 billion euros (US$357 billion), upwards of 175 percent of gross domestic product.

Several countries at the heart of the 19-nation eurozone are set against any reduction in debt, notably Finland, the Baltic States and Germany, European sources said.

Any decision would have to be taken by the Eurogroup of finance ministers from countries that use the single currency, which is due to meet on February 16 but may hold talks before then.

But Mr Juncker's spokesman indicated on Monday that he may at least back Athens's call for an end to the so-called "troika" of bailout supervisors from the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

AFP

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