ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece should stick to reforms it has agreed with its lenders as part of a third bailout, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in a newspaper interview released on Thursday.
Steinmeier makes an official visit to Athens on Thursday and is due to meet Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias.
His trip comes at a moment when Greece is struggling to meet the terms of a 86 billion euro bailout agreed in the summer and conclude the first review of its progress to unlock the next tranche of EU aid.
“After intensive negotiations and painful compromises, we all agreed to an extensive reform package,” Steinmeier told Ta New newspaper.
“My advice is that it (the package) is implemented with determination and on the other hand, Europe should not lessen the help that Greece still needs.”
Asked about debt relief talks the country hopes to start after wrapping up the review, Steinmeier said that EU partners and Germany will respect the agreements as long as Greece stick to its reform program.
“European partners and especially Germany will continue standing by Greece and respect what it has been agreed,” he said.
“(But) I believe we would have better not raising new demands at every turning point, at every difficulty.”
Apart from its financial woes, Greece is also feeling the pinch from a migrant influx since the start of the year. More than 500,000 people have entered the country through its outlying islands since January, transiting on to central and northern Europe in what has become the biggest humanitarian crisis on the continent in decades.
Steinmeier said Europe will help Greece in dealing with the issue.
“It’s clear that Greece - which is trying to get back on its feet right now - is feeling this influx as a particular burden,” he said. “We will really support Greece in dealing with these big challenges.”
Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Shri Navaratnam