Tuesday

25th Sep 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"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.

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

News in Brief

  1. UN chief: World suffering from 'trust deficit disorder'
  2. Stalemate in Sweden as parliament ousts prime minister
  3. Migrant rescue ship heading to French port
  4. EU angry at British tabloids on Brexit
  5. UK to allow EU flights in no-deal Brexit
  6. Greek reporters arrested after story on 'mishandled' EU funds
  7. Austrian minister urges police to out foreign sex offenders
  8. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. EU court delivers transparency blow on MEP expenses
  2. Russian with Malta passport in money-laundering probe
  3. Cyprus: Russia's EU weak link?
  4. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  5. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  6. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  7. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  8. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us