Friday

26th May 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

News in Brief

  1. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  2. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  3. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  4. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  5. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  6. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  7. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  8. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms