German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent a clear message to Greece: solidarity yes, but not without reforms. “Greece must proceed with reforms and implement the necessary reforms.” Merkel stressed again and again. In a government declaration at the German Parliament on Thursday morning, Merkel stressed that it is still possible for Greece to reach an agreement with its international creditors, provided Athens musters will and decisively proceeds to implement reforms. “Where there is will, there is a way,” Merkel said yet she kept up the usual pressure on the debt-ridden country on the verge of bankruptcy.
“Fact is that Germany’s efforts are directed to the fact that Greece remains in the euro zone,” Merkel said and stressed that “Athens has experienced unprecedented European solidarity.”
“Greece has already been on the right track, but necessary reforms which are a precondition for the conclusion of the second bailout have been postponed again and again,” the German Chancellor stressed. She made a reference to February 20th Eurogroup agreement and stressed that “Greece committed to reforms and it has to implement them.” Despite the immense pressure towards Greece, Merkel expressed optimism for a deal.
“I’m still convinced: Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If those in charge in Greece can muster the will, an agreement with the three institutions is still possible.”
She underlined that Greece has received “an unprecedented level of European solidarity” in the past five years and pointed out to other EU crisis countries like Spain, Portugal and Ireland, saying that they have already come back on their feet.
“These countries have used their chance. In the economic and monetary union self-responsibility and solidarity go hand in had,” Merkel said.
She added that “Europe has come a long way,” it “has become more robust in the crisis” and that “Europe is now in position to deal with the Greek crisis than five years earlier.”
She was often was interrupted by hecklers from opposition parties, mainly Die Linke, that criticized the bailout program as a “banks rescuing solidarity” and “finance-political mass murder.”
When Merkel said the word “solidarity” some sardonic laughter was heard.
A side note: Speaking to Austrian newspaper Osterreich, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras said that “Europe is not only Merkel.” Of course, he did not want to insult the most powerful woman of the world. He was just answering the newspaper’s hypothetical question “What will happen if Merkel says [today in Bundestag], either Greece accepts the EU proposals or Grexit.” The question was posed yesterday, Wednesday.
Merkel Speech: sources: news247.gr, ARD.de, Reuters, Focus.de(live reporting from the debate in the German Parliament; in German)