Ger­man en­voy backs Greek re­form ef­forts

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Govern­ment of­fi­cials con­tin­ued yes­ter­day with a charm of­fen­sive for vis­it­ing for­eign dig­ni­taries with Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras tak­ing Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jose Manuel Bar­roso to the Acrop­o­lis and For­eign Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venize­los re­ceiv­ing his Ger­man coun­ter­part Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier, who said he was vis­it­ing to ex­press sol­i­dar­ity with Greece.

In com­ments to re­porters af­ter ac­com­pa­ny­ing Bar­roso and EU com­mis­sion­ers on a visit to the Acrop­o­lis Mu­seum, Sa­ma­ras said all the visi­tors were “very im­pressed.”

Asked what Greece has to gain by host­ing the EU pres­i­dency, the premier said “words do not count, ac­tions do.” “A strate­gic exit from the cri­sis is what counts, and that is what we’re striv­ing for, that’s what we’re do­ing slowly but surely.”

Later in the day Venize­los wel­comed Stein­meier, not­ing that the Ger­man diplo­mat’s pres­ence in Athens one day af­ter Greece’s of­fi­cial as­sump­tion of the Euro­pean Union’s ro­tat­ing pres­i­dency was “a good omen.”

The Ger­man en­voy, for his part con­veyed the re­spect of his govern­ment “for the first part of the course that Greece has cov­ered” and said he hoped the Greek govern­ment would com­plete that course by the end of its term.

Re­fer­ring to Greek pre­dic­tions for a pri­mary sur­plus, Stein­meier spoke of “in­dis­putable suc­cesses” and ad­vised Athens to fo­cus on the com­ple­tion of eco­nomic re­forms pledged to in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors at this stage and “not to de­vote all their time to dis­cus­sions about res­cue pack­ages.” The lat­ter ref­er­ence fol­lows wide­spread spec­u­la­tion about the pos­si­ble need for a third for­eign res­cue pack­age for Greece.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter Yan­nis Stournaras has in­di­cated that it is too early to dis­cuss the pos­si­bil­ity of a third res­cue pack­age.

“Ide­ally we would like no new loans, but at the end of the day we will com­pare al­ter­na­tives and take the de­ci­sion for the ben­e­fit and wel­fare of the Greek peo­ple,” he said ear­lier this week.

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