Tsipras Berlin trip ends with Greek-German relations on better footing

The feeling that there has been a thaw in the frosty relations between Greece and Germany was strengthened on Tuesday when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rounded off his trip to Berlin by holding meetings with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and the leaders of two opposition parties.

“I am pleased that the tone in the German-Greek talks in recent days has clearly changed and clearly improved,” Steinmeier said after meeting Tsipras. He said a warmer relationship was not a “solution” to the debt crisis “but it is undoubtedly key for serious discussions with each other in the coming days.”

Like Merkel, with whom Tsipras had an almost five-hour working dinner on Monday, Steinmeier stressed that Berlin could not intervene in Athens’s negotiations with its lenders.

“The impression should not be created in Greece that everything can be resolved in the context of the German-Greek relationship. That is not the case,” he said.

Steinmeier said that Greece and Germany have agreed to set up a task force to examine the countries’ bilateral relations. “We want to agreed on the state of relations and to investigate where we could deepen these relations further,” he said.

Tsipras also met with Die Linke chief Gregor Gysi and the leadership of the Green party. In between his meetings, Tsipras also visited the Holocaust Memorial in downtown Berlin.

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