Greece needs ‘a little time,’ Merkel says as she launches city tour ahead of elections

German Chancellor Angel Merkel has told voters in her country that Greece needs to be given more time, as she begins a 56-city tour of Germany on Wednesday before elections on September 22.

Merkel rebuffed questions about additional assistance for Greece during an interview for Phoenix Television. Instead, she pointed to “positive elements” as the euro economy begins a turnaround.

“We need to give Greece a little time so that things can develop a bit,” Merkel said.

The chancellor also defended Germany’s commitment to European solidarity. Still, she said, a third Merkel government will pursue the same crisis-resolution course as it has so far.

“I will ensure that solidarity also leads to results,” Merkel said. “It makes no sense if structurally nothing changes.”

Responding to an August 7 report in Stern magazine that she planned to leave office in 2016 if re-elected, Merkel responded: “the people who wrote that didn’t ask me.”

“Of course I want to govern for a full legislative period,” Merkel said. German chancellors are elected to four- year terms.

Polls show Merkel has the upper hand. Her Christian Democratic bloc led the SPD by 13 percentage points, remaining at 39 percent in a weekly INSA poll published yesterday. That result would put the parties in position to form a so-called grand coalition, reprising that of Merkel’s first term.

Merkel, who currently is in a coalition with the pro- business Free Democrats, declined to rule out a coalition with the SPD, though said such an alliance isn’t the goal of either party.

[Kathimerini & Bloomberg]