Greece has a long path to tread, because there is no quick solution to the debt problem, but everything can be achieved if there is unity in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
Speaking to the German Parliament ahead of this evening’s European Union summit, Merkel said that there is no reason to despair over Greece because the solution to the country’s bailout will take time. The German chancellor and other top European officials will have a sidelines meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Brussels to discuss the Greek issue.
“It is absolutely clear that nobody can expect a solution to be found this evening in Brussels or on Monday evening,” she said, referring to the upcoming scheduled meeting with the Greek prime minister in Berlin.
“If we look at what we have achieved on the road to the European Union, I don’t see any reason to give up, or despair,” the German chancellor said.
Relations between Greece and Germany have been very tense in the past two weeks as respective finance ministers have exchanged harsh words during the bailout negotiations. In addition, the Greek side has raised the sensitive World War II reparations issue demanding compensation from Berlin.
Germany holds a tough stance on the bailout issue, insisting that Greece stands by its commitments to its international creditors. The Greek government is stalling negotiations asking for clarification on some issues included in the four-month bailout extension agreement and requesting funds to be released from the European Central Bank.
“I conduct all talks, both today and on Monday and many others, on the understanding that unity can emerge from differences in opinion,” Merkel said to the Bundestag. Germany is prepared to play its part in achieving this, she added.
The German chancellor insisted on the importance of Greece staying in the euro zone. She said that the euro is much more than a currency unit and that along with the European institutions, it is the expression of the will of the people of Europe to unite in peace. Europe fails if the euro fails, Merkel said.