Merkel in Athens: farewell visit on difficult terrain

Status: October 29, 2021 4:53 p.m.

Chancellor Merkel made her last official visit to Greece. She recalled the unreasonable demands that the country had to shoulder during the euro crisis. In the matter she remained true to herself.

By Verena Schälters, ARD Studio Athens

In the past 16 years of her tenure, Angela Merkel has not always been a welcome guest in Greece. Today the reception was friendly, but memories of other times were also awakened.

Speaking at the joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, she said: “Relations between Greece and Germany have been quite lively over the past ten years. We have gone through different phases. The most difficult one was certainly when it came to the stability of the euro.”

Managing Chancellor Merkel on her farewell visit to Athens

daily news 5:00 p.m., October 29, 2021

You personally have always been very aware of the unreasonable demands and challenges for the people in Greece with the question of the euro.

Merkel is sticking to the EU stability pact

At the same time, however, Merkel reiterated her resistance to weakening the European Stability and Growth Pact. “I think Greece has come a long way. But I don’t think the solution is simply to throw the Stability Pact overboard now.”

The financial crisis had shown how vulnerable states like Greece were to speculation in the international financial markets. Now it must be ensured that this does not happen again.

The background to this are demands that certain investments, for example in the area of ​​climate protection or to cope with the corona crisis, should not be included in the calculation of the respective national deficit.

“No more crisis country”

The Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis stressed that Greece has changed. Greece is a modern state and relies on investments and innovations: “Today’s Greece is very different from the country that you have got to know in recent years. It is no longer a crisis country, but a modern, European state.”

Greece wants to show an edge against Turkey

Relations with Turkey were another central topic of the talks. Time and again there are conflicts between Greece and its neighbors.

There are points of contention on several topics: refugees, the dispute over natural gas drilling in the Mediterranean and, in principle, the sovereign rights there.

“Greece wants good relations, of course also with our friends, always within the framework of international law and the law of the sea,” emphasized Mitsotakis. “But it does not tolerate threats or denial of its rights.”

Merkel for dialogue with Ankara

Merkel referred to the need for cooperation with Turkey – not least with a view to illegal migration.

“Here too, I believe, we have shown that we can share responsibility, that we can work together,” said Merkel. “I think the EU-Turkey Agreement is an example of how we have to try to work together. In this case, we should also work with Turkey.”

The Chancellor advocated clarifying even the most difficult questions through dialogue – even if this often took a long time.

Chancellor Merkel on her farewell visit to Athens

Verena Schälters, BR currently Athens, October 29, 2021 4:26 p.m.

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