NEWS

Greek prime minister seeks boost in Berlin visit

ARISTOTELIA PELONI

TAGS: Politics, EU

Although the political significance of Wednesday’s scheduled meeting in Berlin between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is clear, the government on Tuesday sought to play down expectations of any developments as regards Greece’s primary surplus targets.

Mitsotakis will discuss a range of issues with Merkel including reforms aimed at boosting Greece’s credibility and fueling investor interest as well as the ongoing challenges posed by migration, government officials said on Tuesday.

Mitsotakis’ key goal in his first round of meetings with European leaders is to boost the country’s credibility on the international stage, government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the Berlin visit.

It is clear that Athens is keen to secure help in lowering primary surplus targets one way or another. It would be regarded as a significant boost if Greece’s partners allowed the government to include the return of European central banks’ profits from their Greek bond holdings in the revenues for next year’s budget.

Such a move would give Greece a much-needed fiscal boost amounting to 0.6 percent of gross domestic product and would count towards the 3.5 percent surplus target.

Mitsotakis has not referred publicly to this goal but his government’s aim is to reach a compromise with Greece’s partners on this issue by the end of the year, Kathimerini understands.

Petsas would not be drawn on the issue by reporters. “All techniques that can help towards lowering surplus targets are welcome,” he said when asked whether Greek officials were involved in a technical discussion of the issue with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz who Mitsotakis is also scheduled to meet in Berlin.

There are few expectations of a breakthrough as Merkel has traditionally relayed requests for such discussions to summits of eurozone finance ministers.

However, there are hopes that the meeting between the two politicians, who both belong to the European People’s Party, will go well.

Merkel appears well disposed towards Mitsotakis, having reportedly been impressed at his plan for boosting German investments in Greece.

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