Greek PM set to visit Bavaria over bail-out
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras wants to travel to Bavaria to meet the head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).
The trip could even happen before the end of this year, CSU leader and Bavaria state premier Horst Seehofer told Monday’s Süddeutsche Zeitungnewspaper.
Seehofer, whose party includes some of those most critical of Greece and its continued presence in the euro zone, said he would welcome Samaras, and would be prepared to travel to Greece in a return visit, the paper said.
The news comes in the lead-up to national parliamentary elections and state elections in Bavaria next year, both due next September.
Merkel, whose Christian Democrats (CDU) are in a coalition with the CSU and the free-market Free Democrats (FDP), recently returned from a trip to Greece during which she pledged that the two countries would work closely together. She was greeted by riots in the streets as protests against the austerity measures she has championed, turned violent.
The CSU has been very critical of the euro rescue, with the party’s executive secretary Alexander Dobrindt and Bavaria’s finance minister Markus Söder calling for a quick Greek exit from the common currency, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said. Söder has reportedly said that the Greeks must be made an “example” of.
But at the CSU party conference last week, the party’s tone softened, and Seehofer showed a willingness to support Merkel’s position of preserving the euro, the paper reported, calling her approach “exactly right”.
At the conference, Merkel reiterated her intention to continue fighting for the common currency. “Europe is our great insurance that we can continue to lead our lives in peace and freedom,” she said to great applause, the paper reported.
Samaras and Seehofer were put in contact with each other by the vice president of the Bavarian state parliament, Reinhold Bocklet (CSU), who told the Süddeutsche Zeitung: “Samaras attaches great importance to the talks with Bavaria.”