Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras turned down an invitation by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to travel to Berlin on Sunday ahead of the EU summit on September 16.
The prime minister’s schedule is very busy as on Friday he will meet with Mediterranean country leaders and on Saturday he will speak during the Thessaloniki International Fair. Thereby Maximos Mansion declined the invite to Berlin.
According to political analysts Tsipras’ refusal to meet with the German chancellor is contrary to his expressed intentions to improve relations with Germany.
The same analysts say that in view of his sliding popularity in polls, Tsipras is putting emphasis on improving his image domestically. The Mediterranean country leaders informal meeting is an effort to show the Greek people that he is trying to drum up support from southern EU member state leaders, including French President Francois Hollande, against Berlin’s austerity policies.
Regarding the Thessaloniki International Fair, on Wednesday Tsipras met with President of the Professional Chamber of Athens, Yiannis Hatzitheodosiou, and the President of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), Theodoros Fessas, to discuss economic issues.
According to analyses, Tsipras will try to present a positive outlook for the Greek economy, contrary to bleak reports about continuing recession and unemployment.
Traditionally, the Thessaloniki International Fair serves as a convenient podium for politicians to declare their intended policies and praise their achievements. It is said that Tsipras’ speeches in the 2014 and 2015 fairs helped him greatly in winning the January 2015 and September 2015 elections respectively.
Analysts say that Tsipras is putting great effort for the Thessaloniki speech that will be based mostly on attacks against the previous government and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis who is leading in the polls.