One day ahead of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s two-day visit to Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday hailed his administration’s efforts to contain the nation’s deficits.
However, the Wall Street Journal reports, Merkel warned that German financial aid will only be given to those countries in the euro area that undertake efforts to resolve the sovereign debt crisis.
“Greece has implemented changes over the past years which are absolutely remarkable,” Merkel was quoted as saying during a business conference in Berlin.
“Who would have thought that Greece will post a primary budget surplus this year?” she added.
In a related development, in comments published Thursday in Ta Nea daily, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Greece must urgently meet the commitments it made to international lenders in order to restore its competitiveness and attract foreign investment.
Eurozone finance ministers have started “to run out of patience,” the Dutch official warned.
Dijsselbloem’s comments were published as troika officials left the Greek capital Thursday without a deal with government officials on demanded austerity measures.
Some issues still remain open regarding Greece’s reform program, troika representatives said on Thursday following an assessment of the country’s efforts to meet conditions needed to secure further financial aid.
A joint EU/IMF statement said discussions with Athens would resume early December.
“Good progress has been made, but a few issues remain outstanding. The discussions will continue from respective headquarters,” the statement said.
The two sides have been at odds for months over the size of budget savings required for Greece to meet its fiscal targets.
Meanwhile, an opinion piece published Thursday in the Financial Times warned that Athens is gradually shedding the incentives for reform.
“The calculus in Athens has begun to shift in ways that some fear has weakened the incentives for a deal,” says the article signed by Peter Spiegel adding that a collapse of the conservative-led coalition government could spell the end of the bailout program.
“There are some within the troika and in national finance ministries who always thought a Greek exit from the eurozone was inevitable. Unless Athens and its official creditors find more reasons for compromise, their worst fears may become reality,” the FT editorial said.