Tsipras in Berlin

Alexis and Angela try to move forward

Published on 26 March 2015 at 09:07

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his first official visit to Berlin on 23 March, reports Efimerida Ton Syntakton. The visit aimed to rebuild confidence between Germany and Greece following several weeks of mutual suspicion and distrust.

The Greek daily writes that “Tsipras appeared clear and precise when he stated his positions. He did not fear the representative of the engine of the European Union, and was perfectly polite before the chancellor.” On the one hand, “he did not deny the need to modernise the public sector and to reel in tax evasion”, while on the other hand, he showed “the courage to frankly state that Greeks alone could not be held responsible” for their current situation.

The European press was less forgiving. In Barcelona, El Periódico de Catalunya argues that Tsipras has finally started to understand that he cannot make great leaps forward without the good will of his European counterparts. The Spanish daily writes that “two months after his election victory, and after having shown an attitude that stirred the wrath of the European institutions,” the Greek government has learned it “has to show it is willing to work with the German chancellor”. The paper estimates this involves the difficult task of obtaining the support of Merkel in a context where “other European partners such as Spain or Portugal are casting a sceptical eye on the smallest concessions given to Greece”.

In Sweden, Dagens Nyheter writes that even if he has some room to manoeuvre, Tsipras must prove he really intends to change something in Greece if he wants to ward off the threat of a Grexit. The daily predicts that —

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the euro can support Greece’s departure from the eurozone. Firewalls have been built and private creditors have generally fallen off the radar. […] On the political level, however, a Grexit would represent a real setback for Europe. Even if no other country would suffer the same fate as Greece, it would show that leaving the eurozone is possible.

This article was composed with contributions from euro|topics.


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