Greece's firebrand far-left leader struck a consolatory note on Monday, saying it wasn't right to hold foreigners responsible for the country's problems, and promising to launch "big structural reforms."
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke at a flagship joint news conference with his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel, after a summit in Berlin.
"This meeting was very important to better understand each other," a smiling Tsipras said, according to a Reuters translation of the conference, which was conducted in German and Greek.
"It would be wrong to blame foreigners for Greece's problems," he later said, adding, "We have to remove the stereotypes: Greeks are not lazy, nor are Germans to blame for the problems in Greece."
He also said it was "unjust to Merkel and [the] German people to provoke them with caricatures."
Tsipras and his Syriza party were elected in January on an anti-austerity platform. However, European leaders, particularly Germany, have remained adamant that the country will not receive further aid unless it commits to specific reforms to cut its debt and bloated public sector.
On Monday, Tsipras committed to "big structural reforms in Greece to fight tax evasion and corruption," but made no promises regarding austerity measures.
For her part, Merkel said that "nobody" should expect results on Greek reforms to stem from this meeting, according to Reuters.
While Merkel smiled less than Tsipras during the conference, she struck a positive note in expressing her hope for a strong Greek economy, with lower unemployment.
Tsipras also tried to calm the waters after Greek politicians last month resurrected complaints that Germany had never repaid Greece in full for its occupation of the country during World War II.
The complaints were considered a crass diversion tactic by some Germans, given the ongoing debacle over further aid for Greece.
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On Monday, Tsipras said that demands for reparations from Germany were "not material" and should not be linked to negotiations regarding future bailout installments.
Merkel responded that the question of war reparations for Germany was "resolved" in the eyes of the German government.
She added that all European countries were "equal"—despite Germany having the biggest economy—and that Berlin wished to have strong relations with all countries in the European Union.