ECONOMY

Schaeuble visit to be highly symbolic

The government is looking to reap political gains from the confidence displayed by Germany through its participation in the Greek development fund, as it prepares to welcome Wolfgang Schaeuble to Athens on Thursday.

The German finance minister will be meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, his Greek counterpart Yannis Stournaras and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis.

Having dismissed any talk of another restructuring of the Greek debt, Schaeuble is certain to discuss with Greek officials the emerging funding gap and the political developments in this country, parameters that are of great interest to Germany ahead of federal elections in that country in two months’ time.

The visit will aim at issuing a clear message to people in Greece as well as in Germany regarding the success of the Greek streamlining program in a bid to appease any concerns about possible problems, as Berlin wants to enter the final stretch before the September 22 polls in a climate of calm in the eurozone. The German minister is expected to speak publicly about the details of the Greek economic recovery and to issue his own vote of confidence in Athens.

Schaeuble will take part in the signing of the memorandum of cooperation between German bank KfW and the Institution for Growth development fund.

The German side will contribute 100 million euros while Greece’s contribution will amount to 350 million euros. Both parties will participate as stakeholders.

The memorandum will be signed by Hatzidakis and the president of KfW, Ulrich Schroeder.

Meanwhile, the US Treasury announced on Wednesday that Secretary Jack Lew will visit Greece on Sunday to discuss its economic reforms and Europe’s policies in support of the country’s recovery. His visit to Athens, where he will meet with Samaras and Stournaras, will come a few days before the Greek premier heads for Washington on August 8.