The joint press conference by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Berlin had a strong conciliatory tone. Both sides stressed the importance of dialogue, cooperation and mutual trust. However each side focused on the issue dear to it with Germany to insist on the reforms and Greece to bring up sensitive issues like the World War II reparations and bribes by German companies..
Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasized the importance of reforms and stressed the need to make the best possible use of the program extension.
“It is important that there are the financial data and to see what reforms can be implemented,” Merkel said.
“We want Greece to be economically economically, have growth, overcome unemployment especially among young people, to have the necessary structural reforms,” she said.
Merkel denied that any decision for the Greek debt would be taken during her meeting with Tsipras and stressed that there would be “no decisions today.” She pointed out to the Institutions – former Troika – .”We could help with advise but the Institutions will decide.”
Prime Minister Tsipras said that he did not come to Berlin to ask for money, but to improve the bilateral relations and bring up some issues.
Among others Tsipras said that “We must break the stereotypes -“Greeks are lazy”, “Germans are responsible for what happening in Greece” -” and stressed the importance of dialogue and cooperation.
He put on the table two important issues: The Greek claim on WWII reparations and the extradition of former Siemens Hellas CEO Michalis Christoforakos for which he asked the judicial assistance from Germany.
To the thorny “WWII reparations and enforced loan” , Tsipras said that it is “primarily an ethical issue” and he disconnected it from the financial needs of Greece.
Merkel replied that the issue was “politically closed for Germany”, however she added that further talks would be necessary for the establishment of what she called “a Future Fund.”
Greek and international media comment that the meeting was much better than they had thought it would be.
PS What is this Future Fund? I hope we will soon learn more about it.