Westerwelle Meets with Greek Foreign Minister Avramopoulos
Enlarge image Greek Foreign Minister Dimitrious Avramopoulos and Foreign Minister Westerwelle in Berlin on August 20 (© dpa / picture-alliance) On August 20, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle met with his Greek counterpart, Dimitrious Avramopoulos, during his first visit to Berlin. Talks focused on developments in Greece and on efforts to overcome the European sovereign debt crisis. Both Ministers called for close cooperation based on trust, and spoke out against anti European resentment.
“We want a Europe of homelands where people treat each other with respect and nations do not heap clichés and prejudices on one another,” declared Foreign Minister Westerwelle. He went on to say that a stand must be taken against anti-European populism – in Germany and in Greece just as in the rest of Europe. “Europe is a community with a common destiny, a community with a shared culture,” he said.
Respect for Greece’s efforts
Westerwelle expressly recognized Greece’s efforts to overcome the severe crisis. “We know about everything that is being done, and how heavy a burden the people in Greece are having to bear right now.” He stressed that it is important that a signal of solidarity be sent to Greece.
Enlarge image The two foreign ministers spoke to the press in Berlin on August 20. (© picture alliance / dpa) The Federal Government wants “everyone to remain in the eurozone,” which is why it is working to keep Greece in the common currency, Westerwelle said. However, it is clear that “the key to success is in Athens,” and that the agreed reforms and the necessary modernization agenda must be consistently implemented.
Preparation of the meeting between Merkel and Samaras
Westerwelle’s Greek counterpart Avramopoulos informed Minister Westerwelle about the current state of reform efforts in Greece, stressing the willingness of the Greek government under Prime Minister Samaras to press ahead with the respective reforms. However, merely cutting costs will not be sufficient, said Avramopoulos. Rather, for the economy to pick up, policies are needed that foster growth and create jobs.
Westerwelle and Avramopoulos also used their meeting to prepare the upcoming visit by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. The Greek Prime Minister is scheduled to meet with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on August 24.