16th Aug 2022

Tsipras to hold talks with Merkel in Berlin

  • Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras will meet in Berlin for talks next Monday (Photo: svenwerk)

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras will travel to Berlin next week for clear-the-air talks with German counterpart Angela Merkel in a fresh attempt to end the impasse on Greece’s bailout.

Tsipras will meet with Merkel next Monday aides from their respective offices confirmed on Monday (16 March), against the backdrop of increasingly bitter exchanges between Athens and Berlin

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Hours after Merkel’s offer of talks, her finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble fired another broadside at Athens, accusing the recently elected Syriza government of having "destroyed all trust once again”.

“Until November, Athens was on a road that could have led it to exit the crisis. This has gone. I don’t know what to do now with Greece,” Schaueble told a panel discussion in Berlin on Monday.

"Among my colleagues at the international institutions I can find no one who can tell me how that might actually work," he said.

For their part, German politicians have been annoyed by calls from Tsipras, and several of his ministers, for Germany to pay reparations for war crimes committed during the Nazi occupation of the country.

Also on Monday, finance minister Yanis Varoufakis was forced to publicly deny he had raised his middle finger to Germany during a videoed lecture given more than two years ago.

Tsipras’ government was elected on a platform of ending the austerity policies - strongly pushed by Germany - which it blames for plunging Greece into a six year recession and pushing the country’s unemployment to 25 percent. It also hoped to write off a portion of Greece’s debts.

But little progress has been made. Despite agreeing a four month extension to its bailout, none of the remaining €7.2 billion in the rescue plan will be released until Greece returns to implementing the terms of the programme, leaving the country facing an acute cash-flow crisis.

Greece’s creditors have also ruled out the prospect of a further write-down of its debts.

Speaking on Monday in Berlin, EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici stated that “debt has to be repaid, that's clear. Debt cannot be wiped out. There will be no haircut, no debt relief.”

On Monday, the Greek statistics authority revised down the country’s 2014 budget surplus figures, saying it came in at just 0.3 percent of output compared with a previous estimate of 1.5 percent.

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