German chancellor, Greek opposition chief discuss economy, name deal
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday agreed to disagree on the issue of the Prespes deal, as anticipated, but reportedly saw eye-to-eye on issues relating to Greece’s continued economic reforms and the need for investments.
Commenting after the hour-long meeting, Mitsotakis said the discussion had been “frank” and wide-ranging. He said he outlined the conservative party’s plan to “drastically reduce taxes and attract new investments along with [implementing] a broad range of reforms so the country can emerge from the crisis.”
On the name deal with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Mitsotakis said he explained to Merkel why ND will not ratify it. “It is not just because that is the will of the majority of the Greek people but because it is a bad deal that, instead of solving problems in the broader region of the Balkans, could trigger new ones,” he said, adding that ND’s position is “non-negotiable.”
Merkel, for her part, told reporters that she and Mitsotakis belong to the same political family and have many common views on the economy but disagree on the Prespes accord.
Earlier in the day, during a meeting with Greek entrepreneurs, Merkel acknowledged the need for a reduction in taxes, noting however that any tax cuts or benefits should not lead Greece away from its primary surplus targets.
In the morning, Merkel reiterated her support for Greece’s reform effort during talks with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, in which the latter reiterated Greece’s demand for World War II reparations. Merkel, for her part said, “we assume absolute responsibility for the crimes of the National Socialists.” “It is a matter of the heart to support Greece,” she added.