“This is not the place for decisions to be taken. That is in good hands with the three institutions and the Eurogroup,” Merkel said during a joint press conference before their talks.
The Greek prime minister went to Berlin hoping that he would get political support from the German chancellor to unblock the bailout program negotiations. Athens had failed to close the program review at the December 5 meeting of euro zone finance ministers.
Furthermore, Greece’s creditors froze the short-term debt relief measures they agreed on after Tsipras decided to give out Christmas bonuses to low-income pensioners without asking for creditors’ consent. The Greek prime minister also needed Merkel’s intervention on that as well.
The two leaders were also to discuss the refugee crisis, on which Merkel commented that, “Greece has been burdened enormously. We support a fair distribution of refugees in the EU and we cannot abandon Greece to its fate.”
On the deal between Turkey and the European Union about refugee flows, Merkel said, “We will look for ways to maintain and have a better implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement and the difficulties in relations with Turkey that have become tense after the heinous coup.”
On the Cyprus issue, the Greek prime minister said, “Our position is clear on Cyprus. We support a just and sustainable solution without guarantees and an occupying army. An independent united Republic of Cyprus.”