Merkel extends new invitation to Samaras for talks

For the second time in 15 months, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, with the aim of lifting some of the gloom that has descended over Greece and its prospects.

Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Samaras would have a working lunch with Merkel at the chancellor‘s office on November 22 while he is in Berlin to give a speech at a business congress organized by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

The two leaders are to give a joint news conference after their meeting, just as they did when Samaras paid his first official visit to Berlin in August 2012, shortly after being elected. Athens has been encouraged by the fact that Merkel extended the invitation and that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was relatively upbeat about Greece at Thursday’s Eurogroup.

Sources close to the Greek prime minister said they hope that positive comments from Merkel could help improve the mood in Greece as it struggles to reach an agreement with the troika over the size of next year’s fiscal gap and to complete the structural reforms needed to receive its next bailout tranche of 1 billion euros.

A day before traveling to Berlin, Samaras will hold talks in Athens with US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. The Chicago businesswoman joined the Commerce Department in June and her trip was agreed when Samaras visited the White House in August.

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