Greek PM Samaras expected to seek debt relief from Merkel

During scheduled talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to ask for a lightening of his country’s huge debt, according to a report in Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

According to the report, Samaras is to point to economic indicators suggesting that Greece will post a primary surplus both this year and in 2014 in a bid to convince Merkel that Greece should be given some debt relief.

At a landmark Eurogroup summit in November 2012, eurozone officials had said that Greece’s achievement of a primary surplus would allow for a discussion to begin on debt relief.

Germany has repeatedly ruled out a second debt haircut for Greece. But Samaras is not expected to a seek another writedown on Greek debt, according to German reports. Rather, he is expected to ask for a reduction in the interest rates on Greece’s foreign loans and an extension on the maturities.

Still Merkel, is not expected to give in so easily, according to Sueddeutsche Zeitung which reported that the German Chancellor will concede that some economic reforms have been achieved but that much remains to be done. It is expected that Merkel will avoid taking a stance on slow-moving negotiations between Athens and the troika, sources said.

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