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Pressure for reforms? Merkel to visit Greece with wrong agenda in her luggage

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel will urge Greece to press on with tough economic reforms and maintain strict fiscal discipline when she visits Athens on Thursday for the first time in nearly five years,” reuters reports a day before she arrives in Athens.

Moreover, Merkel will encourage Greek politicians to support – read: vote in favor of – the Prespes Agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) that will change the country’s name into “Republic of North Macedonia” and will allow the tiny Balkan country to join the NATO and the European Union.

Citing diplomats, Reuters also notes that the thorny issue of WWII reparations for atrocities committed by the Nazis may also be on the agenda with Berlin vehemently rejecting the Greek claims estimated at over 200 billion euros.

If Merkel comes indeed in Athens with such an agenda, I’m afraid she should be better stay in Berlin as it is highly unlikely that she has the power to achieve any of her goals.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his government rightfully consider the fiscal adjustment program as “done”, the remaining reforms are not of great importance except the one that the Greek government – and any Greek government – keep track of revenues/expenditure books.

Tsipras and his ruling SYRIZA are in favor of Prespes Agreement, and Merkel has to convince her political friend, main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis to support it. the New Democracy leader has repeatedly assured, his party was against the Agreement.

The German Chancellor does not need to deal at all with Tsipras coalition partner Panos Kammenos, who seems to be one step before leaving the government. Even if he does, some of his MPs are ready to vote for the Agreement and so is small opposition party To Potami. Therefore, the vote seems secured, Merkel should speak a serious word with Mitsotakis at their meeting on Friday.

As for the WWII reparations, I wouldn’t know what Angela has to say on the matter, before Greece takes the issue to courts.

I am afraid, Angela Merkel comes with the wrong agenda in her luggage.

She could also come with a tiny purse, leave her business card with her future phone numbers and go. Who knows how long she will be sitting in the  Chancellor’s throne?

What weapons does she have left to put pressure?

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