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EU's Katainen Urges Greece to Stick to Reforms

FILE - European Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Commissioner Jyrki Katainen.

European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen urged Greece's new government on Friday to stick to the reforms agreed with international lenders, but signaled Athens could be offered more time to reach certain goals.

The left-wing Syriza party won a weekend election on promises to end austerity imposed under Greece's 240 billion euro bailout deal and restructure the country's huge debts.

“We expect them to fulfill all the commitments they have promised to do,” Katainen told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk in English, adding that the European Commission had to make sure all member states were treated equally and agreements were respected.

But Katainen did not rule out extending the deadline for carrying out reforms.

“I have not said that the deadlines should not be extended. I simply said that the sooner Greece implements reforms, the sooner new jobs will be created,” he said in comments translated into German.

The Finnish EU commissioner, who is responsible for employment and economic growth, said he hoped Greece and its euro zone partners would find a compromise.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem will meet Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis in Athens on Friday for talks that will mark the start of Greece's negotiations on changing the conditions of its bailout.

Tsipras has said he is determined to end budget austerity demanded by the European Union and International Monetary Fund in return for two bailouts and has already halted privatization plans agreed under the aid deal.