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Juncker says 'I don't understand Tsipras': report

[BERLIN] European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker voiced frustration with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a media report on Friday amid the deepening debt crisis.

"I don't understand Tsipras," Mr Juncker told German news weekly Der Spiegel after he and Mr Tsipras recently fell out a number of times.

"The trust I placed in him has not always been reciprocated in kind."

Mr Juncker said that instead of complaining about the Commission, Tsipras should tell the Greek voters that the EU executive body had offered the country an investment programme worth 35 billion euros for the years 2015-20.

"If I were the Greek prime minister I would claim that as a success," Mr Juncker told Spiegel according to an excerpt of an article to be published on Saturday. "But I'm hearing nothing about it."

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Given the hardening positions, Mr Juncker reportedly said he could no longer rule out a 'Grexit' - Greece leaving the eurozone.

He said Athens had obviously misunderstood his role in seeking a compromise as "someone who can pull a rabbit out of the hat", Mr Juncker said.

"But that is not the case. I repeatedly warned Mr Tsipras that he cannot rely on me to prevent a collapse of talks."

Greece's radical left Syriza government has rejected reforms demanded in exchange for the final tranche of its international bailout, which expires on June 30, the same day that a huge payment is due to the International Monetary Fund.

Former Luxembourg premier Mr Juncker has been acting as a bridge to leftist leader Mr Tsipras during the five-month crisis, but the pair have fallen out spectacularly on a number of occasions recently.


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