FAZ: Why Merkel likes Tsipras so much

FAZ: Why Merkel likes Tsipras so much

Athens, June 9, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The phone call to the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, revealed Monday the German FAZ, whereby Merkel, Hollande and the EKT are considering a depreciation of the Greek debt, not through a haircut, but by extending the repayment time of loans and lower interest rates.

German Chancellor Merkel wants to save the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, argues in an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine, in which it describes the good relationship between the two leaders and the efforts of Germany to help Greece, while it reveals interesting background from the negotiations.

In recent months, says the newspaper, Merkel and Tsipras have developed a cordial relationship despite disagreements over the reform program that Greece has to follow and despite the fact that a solution to the Greek crisis is not in sight yet.

So cordial that it could be… misunderstood. According to the article of Thomas Gutschker in German newspaper, in the recent summit in Riga the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz and Alexis Tsipras were in adjacent positions until the Greek prime minister stood up to leave, saying he has “an appointment with Angela”.

FAZ: Why Merkel likes Tsipras so much

The Social Democrat leader of the Europarliament reportedly asked “With Angela? Who is that?”, and Tsipras replied “you know which Angela”, giving a lighter tone to the converation.

“You speak in singular!” concluded Schultz and the Greek Prime Minister appears according to the editor, to have “flashed”, causing the next “comment” by the German: “are you by any chance a little in love?”, Schulz asked and nudged him with his elbow, causing Tsipras to laugh, however, he was “a little embarrassed, but very proud”.

A senior German politician commented: “Merkel finds Tsipras likable. She understands that he has before him an incredibly difficult task and that he has no governance experience. She wants to help him”.

Moreover, as the FAZ notes, the German Chancellor is much more understanding of the Greek Prime Minister than the majority of Germans, members of the Christian Democrat Party or the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

For Merkel, Tsipras is not a populist who has no idea of the economy. He believes that within a few months he must implement reforms that his predecessors postponed for years.

Because, explains the German newspaper, in every evaluation of the aid program the most difficult and politically risky reforms have been postponed for years. Essentially the program should have been completed in previous years.

Merkel’s opportunity

At the same time, Merkel sees a chance with Tsipras, says the FAZ. As the Greek prime minister does not have friendly relations with the oligarchs in Greece, as his predecessors, he could break existing structures and eliminate inequalities.

When Schaeuble said he is contemplating a Grexit, Merkel telephoned the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to clarify: not as long as I am in power. Last Monday the German chancellor took the matter into her hands and was involved in the negotiations as never before. She called in Berlin the French President Francois Hollande and the heads of the three institutions.

According to the FAZ, Merkel, Hollande and the European Central Bank are considering a reduction of the Greek debt, not through a haircut, but through the extension of the repayment of loans and lower interest rates.

Political capital

The German chancellor has invested much political capital to help Tsipras, underlines the German newspaper. She is aware of Schauble’s disagreements. She knows that it would be difficult to convince her party to agree on an extension of Greece’s aid program. But, as FAZ wonders, will the Christian Democrats really say no the next time the Chancellor will bring to the Bundestag the issue of the release of the last tranche of the second program?

Or even a new aid program for Greece? A split in the Bundestag would mean the end of Merkel’s chancellery. And it can hardly be imagined, the newspaper concludes.