Samaras to hold talks with Merkel in Berlin

Samaras to hold talks with Merkel in Berlin


By Lefteris Yallouros – Athens

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras visits Berlin Friday where he is scheduled to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks.

Samaras will have a working lunch with Merkel at the chancellor’s office while he is in Berlin to give a speech at a business congress organized by a newspaper.

The meeting will take place a day after Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras tabled the 2014 budget in parliament without a rubber stamp from the troika.

Ahead of the meeting with the Greek premier, Angela Merkel told the press Greece was progressing well with its fiscal adjustment program while achieving a budget surplus this year which few expected.

The German chancellor’s spokesman may have said earlier this week that “the meeting  will have nothing to do with negotiations (between the Greek government and the troika), but it is just a good opportunity for Angela Merkel to be informed from Antonis Samaras himself, about what exactly is happening in Greece”.

The Greek government however hinges a lot more on this meeting than the German spokesman suggests.

Antonis Samaras is hoping to get a message of support from the German Chancellor as talks with the troika inspectors have stalled.

German newspaper Handelsblatt says negotiations with the troika “could potentially determine the future of Greece’s coalition government” and this is the warning the Greek premier will take to Angela Merkel.

The newspaper also reports that Mrs. Merkel should not be expected to grant any concessions and will urge Greece to stick with the reform effort as there is some displeasure in Berlin with the constant stumbling blocks in negotiations between Greek officials and troika inspectors.

Sources in Athens suggest the Greek Prime Minister will also discuss the issue of Greece preparing to go to the markets for its lending needs next year for the first time since the debt crisis blew over. Ahead of a European Parliament election in 2014, the government will need some good news to limit the protest vote that will most likely favor the main opposition and parties to the right of New Democracy.