Tsipras, Merkel display goodwill, little sign of debt progress

Tsipras, Merkel display goodwill, little sign of debt progress
# 23 March 2015 23:21 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel put on a public display of mutual goodwill on Monday, appealing to Greeks and Germans to set aside recrimination and national stereotypes and work for a better European future, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Yet despite warm words on the new leftist premier's first official visit to Berlin, it was unclear if they had narrowed differences on economic reforms Greece must implement to win urgently needed fresh cash from its creditors. The two leaders were due to discuss the reforms in greater depth over dinner.

Tsipras insisted he was not in Germany to solve Greece's pressing liquidity problems but to find common ground to move forward in the euro zone.

He condemned as an "unjust provocation" a German magazine cover depicting Merkel amid Nazi officers by the Acropolis in Athens. And in a rebuke to his own justice minister, he said no one in Greece was considering seizing or auctioning off German property for war reparations.

"Please, let's leave these shadows of the past behind us," Tsipras said, stressing that the European Union was a force for stability in a troubled region. "Today's democratic Germany has nothing to do with the Germany of the Third Reich that took such a toll of blood."

Merkel said Germany considered the issue of reparations for the Nazi occupation in World War Two politically and legally resolved, but she was aware of how Greeks had suffered. She hinted that Berlin may increase a fund created last year for youth exchanges, for which parliament has granted 1 million euros a year for three years.

She also said Germany, which has the biggest population and economy in the EU, considered all European states as equals and wanted good relations with all, including Greece.

The chancellor made clear there could be no breakthrough to provide fresh funds for Greece from their talks, since that was up to the 19-nation Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers.

Berlin wanted Greece to restore growth and overcome high unemployment, Merkel said, adding: "For that you need structural reforms, a solid budget and a functioning administration."

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