“Angela Merkel was the voice of reason and stability. Unfair sometimes, but decisive as in 2015 when she rejected the expulsion of Greece from Europe ” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis praised the outgoing German Chancellor in joint statements on Friday. Merkel is in Athens for a two-day “highly symbolic visit” as the Greek government described it.
Referring to the tough austerity imposed during the economic crisis, Merkel said “The difficulties were a given when it came to the stability of the euro and I was personally fully aware of the excessive burden placed on Greeks that this meant and the challenge that this meant for the people in Greece. In the end, we managed to find a common path, to keep in step for Greece to remain a member of the EU.”
To Mitsotakis’s extensive reference to the ongoing provocations by Turkey, Merkel kept distance, reiterating her friendly position to Erdogan. Referring to the Migration crisis in 2015, Merkel said “We have shown that we can share responsibilities and I think that the EU-Turkey Agreement is an example that shows us that we can work together, and in this case work together with Turkey. I am aware of the large number of challenges that Greece faces when it comes to cooperation with Turkey. We discussed yesterday and today with intensity that United Nations resolutions and international law must apply, and we believe that it is important but difficult to find answers and solutions through dialogue.”
Earlier, Merkel was received by President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou at the presidential mansion.
“I welcome a great politician who has shaped the policy of Germany and of Europe for nearly two decades,” Sakellaropoulou said in her meeting with Merkel.
“Greece paid a heavy price. Many times we understandably felt alone,” she added, while thanking Merkel for “preserving bilateral relations and your pro-European stance.”
Replying, Merkel said: “You referred to our relations, which had some ups and downs but are based on solid foundations. And I have to say that dialogue is always the key for finding a solution.”
“What gave us strength is that we had a sense that we belong together, Germany and Greece,” she added, noting that this must be retained “in the challenges that we will face in the future also”.
Government sources told media, Merkel’s visit to Athens marks a turning point both for the balances within the EU, but also for Greece, which is moving forward.
Merkel and Mitsotakis reportedly discussed the bilateral relations as well as the Greek-Turkish and Euro-Turkish relations after the latest developments and the ongoing Turkish provocation in the Eastern Mediterranean, the migration issue, the situation in Libya, but also the moves made by Greece in the energy sector with the most recent example being the signing of an agreement with Egypt on electricity interconnection.
The talks also focused on bilateral economic relations, as well as the European debate on fiscal rules that will meet the challenges of the times and the new reality created by the pandemic.
Merkel visited Athens following an invitation by the Greek Prime Minister.
PS obviously citing gov’t sources, Greek media were hinding prior to Merkel’s visit that she would most probably ‘apologize’ for the tough economic hardship during the economic crisis.
Of course, she did not. The Greek conservative side did not even bothered to bring up the issue of German WWII compensation. Of course, it wouldn’t.
No some Greeks on social media appear “romantically” disappointed and many stress “Merkel won’t be missed.” Of course, she won’t.
I don’t understand the comment at the beginning of the article about Merkel “rejecting the expulsion of Greece from Europe”? Greece is geographically part of Europe and no politician of any nationality can do anything about that. Over millennia plate tectonics might or might not change that geographical reality but not in the short term and not through any human intervention.
If you interpret the statement as “expulsion from the EU” there is no mechanism in any EU treaties to expel a member country from the EU so that is also not possible. Countries can leave voluntarily under Article 15, as the UK has done, but no country can be expelled. There is no mechanism.
There was discussion of an exit from the Eurozone but again I can see no mechanism in any of the treaties by which that can be enforced on a country. There are rules for being a member of the Eurozone, and clearly Greece does not fulfil those rules, but then neither does Germany or most other EU countries. The treaties define what the rules are but don’t really define what should happen if a country no longer meets them. Imposing a fine on a country that is bankrupt doesn’t really work?
In reality everything during the financial crisis was driven by the Eurogroup, which has no legal status in any EU treaty. Everything in the Eurogroup was driven by Schäuble. The only person in the world who had any influence over Schäuble was Merkel so she cannot escape responsibility for what the bailout programme did to Greece. To be fair she does not have total responsibility. The Eurogroup relied on the economic predictions of the IMF and they have proved themselves to be economic imbeciles over very many years.
In reality if the Eurogroup had allowed Greece to default on its debt then Deutsche Bank would have collapsed, followed by every major investment bank in the world, because of the web of derivatives held by the major investment banks, followed by all other banks. It was better to rescue Greece and transfer responsibility to the Greek tax payer, of which I am one. Otherwise they would have been forced to rescue Deutsche Bank and that would have fallen squarely on the German tax payer. No big favour really?
Greece belongs with Britain, not Germany.
This inviting Merkel by the PM is as bad as when Tsipras invited Erdogan.
Typical cowardly politician; praising Merkel after all the damage that she and her financial thugs like Schäuble have done to the country. Or what was Mitsotakis smoking? The EU should ban her to an island in the south Atlantic like they did to Napoleon.