Cover

Athens is ready for a "crucial visit from [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel," states Greek daily Kathimerini. The Chancellor's October 9th trip, her first working visit since the beginning of the crisis, is highly anticipated. The Greek government hopes the visit will help to hasten the release of 31.5 billion euros in financial aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and to delay, for two years, the requirement to balance public sector accounts. But the Greek press expects no policy shift.

As Alexis Papachelas explains in Kathimerini —

... the Germans had two serious problems. One was the extremely negative view of Greece by public opinion and those who mold it. Merkel made an enormous effort to reverse this climate. [...] During her visit to Athens today, her mind will obviously be on the German public and mainly on the Eurosceptic who have yet to follow her lead. Merkel’s second big problem is the fact that while Greece has made huge cuts in its public spending it is still seriously lagging on the structural reform front. [...] Her message to the Greek leadership is bound to be clear: Make impressive and quick progress on reforms and I will reward you. [...] Merkel’s visit will surely bring some stability in terms of Greece’s position in the Eurozone, but we should not expect any miracles.

In fact, adds leader writer, Dimitri Danikas, in To Vima, "nothing essential has changed" despite the chancellor's gesture —

I am willing to bet that this lightening visit is the latest act in a play. Until the Eurozone sets up its defences, Merkel play acts by saying that Greece is a European country and that is why she has decided to keep us on life support. This trip is symbolic. On one hand, she is totally disappointed by Greek immobility and pretends to want us in the European Union. On the other hand, we are pretending to try to change. It is a play with several acts, with many austerity measures entitled 'A Slow Death Without Anaesthetic'.