Tuesday

23rd Jul 2019

Samaras visit marks 'new relations' with Germany

  • Samaras believes September's Troika report will vindicate him and his government (Photo: European People's Party)

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

"My visit today marks the start of new relations between our two countries. This is a new step for a new beginning," said Samaras, following talks with Merkel on how Greece is proceeding with the structural reforms, privatisation and budget cutting that is being demanded of it in return for bailout money.

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

The centre-right leader, currently seeking to prove to eurozone leaders that Greece has earned the right to an extension in the amount of time needed to carry out reforms, said that Athens has two deficits to reduce - a budget deficit and a credibility deficit.

"We are a proud people and we do not like living off borrowed money. We have resources and we will try to make use of them."

Merkel for her part agreed that it was a "good beginning" but added "there is a lot still to do."

She noted that "impatience" grew when Greece in the past missed many reform deadlines and that "trust" had been eroded in the eurozone over the course of the crisis.

"I've made it clear what we expect from Greece...words [must] be followed by deeds."

In return, Berlin would support Greece's attempt to reach the goals and fulfill expectations. Meanwhile, Athens had the "right" to be judged on its efforts in the forthcoming progress report by officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, known as the troika.

Samaras for his part said he was "certain" that the troika report will show that Greece is on the right track.

Once again he reiterated that Greece is not looking for more money but for "breathing space" and a chance of "recovery" after five years of recession.

Samaras will follow his meeting with Merkel with a visit to President Francois Hollande in Paris on Saturday (25 August).

It will mark the end of a week full of meetings concerning Greece. But despite the flurry of activity, the eurozone is in waiting mode.

The nature of the highly anticipated troika report, due late September, will determine whether Athens receives the next tranche (€33.5bn) of its bailout money and whether it is granted any flexibility in its bailout programme. Without the next payment, Samaris has said his country will not be able to pay its bills.

However, Merkel has repeatedly stressed that she wants Greece to remain a part of the single currency, a point she made once again on Friday.

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.

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.

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

Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras has called on EU politicians to stop demotivating 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.

EU hesitates to back France over US tariff threat

France has passed a new tax on tech companies that will affect US global giants like Facebook. Donald Trump has threatened retaliatory tariffs over it. The EU commission says it will "coordinate closely with French" on the next steps.

News in Brief

  1. Johnson is next British prime minister
  2. Johnson set to be announced British PM on Tuesday
  3. UK-based owners of .eu domains could keep name
  4. Weyand: EU would respond to US tariffs on cars
  5. UK foreign office minister quits ahead of Johnson as PM
  6. AKK to boost Bundeswehr budget to Nato target
  7. Police arrest 25 after Polish LGBT-march attack
  8. Ukrainian president's party tops parliament election

Feature

Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Macron: 14 EU states agree on a migration 'mechanism'
  2. As Johnson set to become PM, ministers pledge to resign
  3. Poland's PiS prepares 'failsafe' for October election
  4. Abortion Wars
  5. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  6. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  7. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  8. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us