• Germany's news in English

Germany: 'silver lining' in Greek debt turmoil

The Local · 4 Jul 2013, 07:25

Published: 04 Jul 2013 07:25 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Westerwelle, holding talks with Greece's reshuffled government ahead of an EU-IMF progress report which will determine whether it receives its next cash lifeline, dismissed talk that Athens would need a further debt writedown.

"My impression is that we for the first time are seeing a faint silver lining on the horizon," he told reporters after talks with Evangelos Venizelos, who brokered a debt writedown last year and became foreign minister and deputy prime minister last month in a government shake-up.

"In politics, psychological momentum counts too and when the sky starts brightening and people start in again with doomsday scenarios and looking backward, then you miss out on that psychological momentum."

Asked specifically about speculation Greece would not be able to cope with its mountain of debt, he said: "A further debt writedown is not on the agenda."

Germany is the paymaster for the international bailouts for Greece but has triggered widespread anger in the debt-mired nation for an insistence on biting budget cuts in return for assistance.

Chancellor Angela Merkel faced mass protests during a visit to Athens last October.

Experts from the European Central Bank, the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are currently in Athens to review Greece's progress in implementing deep reforms.

On the basis of their findings, a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels Monday will determine whether Greece can draw €6.3 billion ($8.2 billion) from its ongoing bailout.

The IMF is also scheduled to decide by the end of July whether to disburse its own scheduled contribution of €1.8 billion.

Since 2010, the EU and IMF have committed a total of €240 billion to the heavily indebted country.

Merkel said in an interview published Wednesday she believed Greece could service its enormous debt without any new imposed writedown.

And ECB executive board member Joerg Asmussen said that talk of new writedowns was "not helpful", urging Athens instead to press on with reforms.

Last year, Greece erased nearly a third of its overall debt through an unprecedented writedown of more than €100 billion held by private creditors including banks and pension funds.

Nearly €30 billion of additional debt were subsequently recovered in a buyback achieved with bailout funds.

Westerwelle said he had intended his visit as a sign of Germany's "solidarity and encouragement".

"We Germans know the load you are bearing, what you are achieving and the deep valley you are crossing. But I can assure you that if you continue on this reform path, it can be the birth of a new economic upswing," he said. "Greece can make it, I am sure of it."

Story continues below…

Venizelos said he appreciated Germany's understanding that reforms meant hardship for average Greeks.

"The Greek people have made these sacrifices because in reality they want to fortify our national sovereignty and independence, they don't want Greece to depend on either the markets or the essential help of our European partners," he said.

On Thursday, Westerwelle will meet Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who now leads with a wafer-thin, two-party majority after moderate leftist party Democratic Left quit the ruling coalition.

Merkel, who faces a general election in September, hosted a pan-European conference in Berlin on tackling critically high youth unemployment in stricken eurozone countries such as Spain, Portugal and Greece.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd