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Avramopoulos trip to Berlin a pre-cursor to Samaras-Merkel talks

Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos is due to fly to Berlin on Sunday for talks with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle.

The trip is seen as a pre-cursor to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s visit to Germany on August 24, when he will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In recent comments, Westerwelle appeared to have softened his stance on Greece and the possibility of Athens being granted more concessions, such as a longer fiscal adjustment period.

The time that was lost in the Greek election campaigns must be taken into account,» Westerwelle told Spiegel magazine, before adding: «It is clear that no substantial changes can be made to the reform agreements."

However, there are a number of politicians within Germany who are opposed to Greece being cut any more slack.

"The government in Athens must fulfill its reform requirements,» said Stefan Müller, the parliamentary secretary for the state group of the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s CDU. «There can be no renegotiations of either the content or the time span.”

Patrick Doering, the general secretary of Westerwelle’s FDP party, told Die Welt: «The FDP will not allow itself to be a part of a loosening of a valid contract.”

FDP leader and Economy Minister Phillip Roessler continued to play down the consequences of a Greek euro exit.

"We don't want Greece to become insolvent but, if necessary, we could cope with the consequences,» he told Spiegel Online.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday August 16, 2012 (10:46)  
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