Saturday

21st Apr 2018

Samaras in Berlin visit amid reports of 'Grexit' working group

  • Samaras is on his first official visit to Berlin since taking office in June (Photo: EUobserver)

Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras has called on EU politicians to stop unhelpful speculation about his country's exit from the eurozone but his plea comes as it emerged that German officials have set up a 'Grexit' working group.

He told Le Monde newspaper that efforts to undertake the tough reforms demanded by Greece's lenders are being undermined by regular negative statements about Athens' euro future.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"How can we privatise when, every day, European officials speculate publicly about a potential exit of Greece from the common currency? This has got to stop.”

Samaras said an exit from the eurozone would be "devastating" for Greece as no democracy could survive such a drop in living standards but also for other eurozone countries who would feel sharp knock-on effects.

His Le Monde interview - part of a series of interviews in French and German papers designed to win support for Greece - coincided with his first official visit to paymaster Germany, where rhetoric on Greece is the toughest.

Samaras will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin Friday (24 August) to put the case for more flexibility around the austerity programme demanded by creditors in return for the second €130bn bailout.

He said the meeting would not be about discussing the goals of the programme but how to achieve them while maintaining "social cohesion."

However his visit coincides with news that the German finance ministry has established a special working group to discuss how to deal with a potential Greek exit from the eurozone.

Financial Times Deutschland revealed that the group is being headed up by state secretary Thomas Steffen, meets regularly and reports to the chancellor's office.

The group is considering the "financial consequences" of an exit and how to prevent a "domino effect" to other states, the newspaper quotes a ministry official as saying.

Samaras' Berlin visit takes place amid scepticism among the German population about Greece's reform efforts.

According to a new N24-Emnid poll, 75 percent of Germans do not want Athens to be granted flexibility on its programme while 68 percent do not believe the country is doing everything it can to stick to the programme, and 69 percent oppose a third bailout for the country.

Merkel tackled the truculent mood in Germany in a video message released Thursday.

'We are living through one of Europe's worst crises. This crisis has built up over many years and will therefore take a long time to overcome. It will be difficult.'

'But I am deeply convinced that at the end of this path, we will have a sustainable and strengthened eurozone and European Union,' said the chancellor.

Hollande and Merkel in show of unity on Greece

The German and French leaders put on a careful display of unity on Greece on Thursday in Berlin, appearing briefly before press to urge Athens to continue reforms.

Eurozone leaders to have series of Greece meetings

Eurozone leaders will this week begin a round of shuttle diplomacy focussed on debt-stricken Greece amid reports that Athens' deficit problems are greater than previously thought.

Samaras visit marks 'new relations' with Germany

Greek leader Antonis Samaras has said talks on Friday with Angela Merkel marked the start of new relations between Athens and Berlin but the German chancellor remained characteristically cautious.

Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform

France and Germany have pledged to forge a joint position on euro reform by June, despite German reluctance on deeper monetary union.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists