Arab Today, arab today merkel\s athens trip chance to show solidarity
Last Updated : GMT 18:35:19
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Merkel\'s Athens trip chance to show solidarity

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Merkel\'s Athens trip chance to show solidarity

Berlin - AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel\'s visit to debt-wracked Greece this week is a chance to show solidarity and recognition of its efforts, government and opposition parties said Sunday. Merkel\'s trip to Athens on Tuesday is \"an act of recognition for the Greek government which is under great pressure with its reform policy\", Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said. The minister, who is from the Free Democratic Party (FDP), a junior partner in the centre-right coalition, told Monday\'s Bild newspaper that the Greeks had earned \"fairness and respect\". For his part, the FDP\'s parliamentary chief, Rainer Bruederle, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that the chancellor\'s visit was \"a clear sign of our solidarity with Greece\". Politicians from the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Greens struck a similar tone ahead of the visit, Merkel\'s first to Greece since the eurozone debt crisis ignited nearly three years ago. Relations between Greece and Europe\'s effective paymaster Germany have been strained, with Merkel blamed in Athens for imposing austerity at all costs and the Greeks criticised in Berlin for not keeping promises. Merkel must make it clear that \"we are helping out of mutual interest and not as a rich uncle who knows everything better\", European Parliament president Martin Schulz, an SPD member, told the Leipziger Volkszeitung. And the Green party\'s parliamentary group leader Juergen Trittin urged Merkel in the Welt am Sonntag to make clear to the Greeks that \"they can count on European solidarity on the hard path ahead of them\". Merkel\'s spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday the message she would take to Athens would be that \"we want to help Greece stabilise itself within the eurozone.\" \"We are doing that by massively contributing to the two aid packages that are supposed to help Greece come out of the crisis,\" he said, stressing that aid was possible only if Greece stuck to the austerity cuts demanded by international creditors. Nevertheless, he said Berlin saw greater efforts being made under Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

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