NEWS

Merkel urges Greece to stick to commitments to remain in euro

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she wants Greece to remain in the eurozone but wants to see it make a greater effort to meet its bailout commitments.

Merkel made the comments after meeting on Friday in Berlin with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who said Greece was working to bring down its ?credibility deficit? and asked for the country to be given a chance to ?breath.?

Merkel suggested that she had been encouraged by her conversation with Samaras and felt confident that the coalition government in Athens would do what it could to ensure Greece progresses with its reforms and fiscal adjustments.

The German chancellor insisted that Berlin would take no decision on whether to release further funding for Greece until the troika has delivered its report, due in the latter half of September.

?What Greece can expect from Germany is that we won?t make premature judgements but will await the troika report,? she said.

Merkel acknowledged that some progress had been made in Greece and that a lot of people have suffered the consequences of the cuts and the ongoing recession.

?We know we are asking a lot from the Greek people,? she said. ?They have been walking through a desert for the past five years and need our support.

?I understand that significant steps are being taken in Greece and that the Greek people understand that it is not just the less well-off who should suffer.?

Samaras insisted that the coalition would seek to restore trust with its eurozone partners, saying that Greece was attempting to fix its ?credibility deficit? as well as its public deficit.

?We are already living up to our commitments and I believe the troika report will show this,? he said.

However, the Greek prime minister stressed that the pressure on Greece would have to ease up due to the dire economic conditions. He did not specifically refer to a two-year extension of the fiscal consolidation program.

?We are not asking for more money, we are asking for a recovery,? he said, repeating a message he delivered to the German media this week. ?We are in a long underwater dive and are asking for the chance to come up for breath.?

Samaras, asked for ?toxic? statements from European politicians regarding a Greek euro exit to cease. ?This cacophony has to stop, regardless of where it comes from,? he said.

?How can a government proceed with privatizations, when a significant European official makes a statement saying Greece will go back to the drachma? Which investor would be interested??

Samaras travels to Berlin next for talks with French President Francois Hollande on Saturday.