Samaras in Berlin hopes to convince Merkel of coalition’s intentions

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras will attempt to convince German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday that Greece is turning a new leaf and deserves the backing of its eurozone partners.

Samaras is due to hold talks with Merkel at 12.45 p.m. Berlin time. Although he will be afforded full military honors, the Greek prime minister is unlikely to be in for a comfortable time during the meeting as skepticism about Greece?s position in the eurozone has grown in Germany and the German chancellor has displayed a reluctance to talk about changes to Greece?s bailout terms.

The premier had a taste of what he can expect when Merkel met with French President Francois Hollande in Berlin on Thursday. Samaras is due to hold talks with Hollande in Paris on Saturday. The German and French leaders stressed the need for Greece to stick with its current EU-IMF program.

?For me, it?s important that we all stand by our commitments, and in particular await the [publication of] the troika report, to then see what the result is,? Merkel said. ?But I will encourage Greece to follow the path of reform, which demands a lot of the Greek people.?

Hollande stressed: ?I want Greece to remain in the eurozone. That?s my wish. That?s our wish.? But he added that ?of course Greece must make the necessary efforts for this to happen.?

Earlier in the day, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that it was too soon to be talking about changes to Greece?s bailout or a new loan agreement.

?You cannot just say after half a year, all of that is not enough, because then you will never win the confidence of financial markets,? he told Germany?s SWR radio. ?So more time is not a solution for the problems. The question is how we win back confidence.?

Before flying to Berlin on Thursday, Samaras spoke on the phone with his coalition colleagues, PASOK?s Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left?s Fotis Kouvelis. He also held a meeting with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

SYRIZA criticized Samaras ahead of his trip, claiming he was taking part in the meeting ?without any real appetite for negotiation, but only for public relations purposes, which cannot hide the dangerous and catastrophic nature of the new package of measures.?