Greek PM to visit Merkel tomorrow
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will welcome Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for talks in Berlin this week, her spokesman said, as Athens awaits billions of euros in European aid.
Samaras and Merkel would hold “informal” talks tomorrow, spokesman Steffen Seibert told journalists. No news conference is scheduled following the meeting.
The Greek premier is due to speak at a business conference in Berlin, at which Merkel is also expected to give a speech.
This conference would “obviously be an opportunity to look back at the prog-ress Greece has made in terms of its reform efforts,” Seibert said, although he declined to specify which topics the leaders would discuss.
The event will be closed to the press.
Samaras last visited Germany in December, when he held talks with Horst Seehofer, state premier of Bavaria, the southern German region that has been the source of some of the most strident anti-Greek comment during Greece’s debt crisis.
Several members of Seehofer’s Christian Social Union (CSU) called for Greece to leave the eurozone at the height of its crisis, but the two leaders vowed to reset relations between Athens and Munich.
Amid a huge police presence and sometimes violent protests, Merkel visited Athens in October to signal her support for the Greek Government’s efforts to slash debt.
This was seen as a turning point in Europe’s attitude to Greece that eventually led to European Union leaders agreeing last month to hand out €49.1 billion in aid in return for more austerity measures.
Athens has already received €34.3 billion of this package and is poised to get another €9.2 billion at the end of this month if key fiscal reforms are carried out, followed by two more slices of €2.8 billion in February and March.
The risk of Greece leaving the eurozone has declined considerably after the election of Samaras last year as he has convinced other European leaders, notably Merkel, of his determination to reform the Greek economy.