Friday

21st Jul 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

Greece to get €7.7bn loan next week

The ESM, the eurozone emergency fund, agreed on Friday to unblock a new tranche of aid as part of the bailout programme agreed upon in 2015.

Opinion

Greece needs a new plan

Two years into its third bailout, Greece needs to combine the necessary fiscal targets with a new vision. This can be done in the context of the ongoing industrial revolution.

Opinion

Ceta and pesticides: A citizens' rights issue

The trade agreement with Canada will begin to apply on 21 September. But there is still a potential conflict on the right to data protection vs. the right to access information.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  2. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  3. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  4. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  5. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  6. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  7. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary
  8. Commission: clean up diesel cars, or EU agency inevitable