University students take part in an anti-austerity rally in Athens, on Friday, March, 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the eurozone's main paymaster, said Friday Greece would only receive fresh funds to ease a cash crunch once its creditors approve a comprehensive list of reforms it has promised to present soon.However, she signaled some flexibility on what reforms Athens would have to make and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker offered leftist Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a sweetener by saying 2 billion euros from the European Union budget were available to ease the humanitarian impact of five years of austerity measures.A joint statement by the EU institutions spoke of a "spirit of mutual trust" and Tsipras said he now felt more optimistic, but it remained uncertain whether he and Merkel were talking about the same reforms and how far Greece would have to start implementing them before it receives any new cash.The risk of a continued standoff, exactly a month after Greece secured a last-gasp four-month extension of an EU/IMF bailout, was highlighted by comments from Merkel and Tsipras.EU officials said that if Greece came up with a convincing plan, the Eurogroup could meet as early as next week to release at least some funds.Merkel too said Greece could get some payment sooner if it fulfilled the requirements faster.
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