Merkel and Tsipras seek conciliation
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel adopted a conciliatory tone in Berlin on Monday, after politicians and media in both countries repeatedly attacked each other in recent weeks. Finally Tsipras has realised that he needs Merkel, some commentators write in delight. Others counter that the new soft-line approach won't save Greece from bankruptcy.
Tsipras realises that he needs Merkel
Tsipras has finally realised that he can't make any major leaps without the good will of his European colleagues, the left-liberal daily El Periódico de Catalunya writes in delight: "Two months after its election victory and the kind of behaviour that hasn't made it very popular with the European institutions, the Greek government has realised that it needs to mend fences with the German chancellor. Otherwise the meeting with the other EU heads of government will turn into a minefield for Athens. In this respect yesterday's meeting should be seen more as a PR campaign. The decisions fall within the remit of the Euro Group. It was about building bridges between those who really have the power in Europe and those who really need the support from the powerful to stand up to other members - like Spain or Portugal - who regard any kind of concession to Greece with great distrust."
Reconciliation with Berlin not enough
Alexis Tsipris has finally sought a rapprochement with Berlin but the problems Athens faces are far from solved, the liberal daily Mladá fronta Dnes comments: "During the crisis Germany was seen by many Greeks as the symbol of everything evil, with Merkel and her ministers personifying Satan. That also explains why Tsipras took two whole months to prepare his trip to Berlin, although Germany plays the key role in saving Athens from bankruptcy. Then yesterday night the two smiled as if Greece and Germany were the best of friends. ... However despite the optimistic mood after the negotiations with Merkel, Tsipras and his country are by no means out of the woods. All the Eurozone states - many of which are far tougher in their stance than the German chancellor - have been clear about the fact that they are unwilling to give Athens any more money if it fails to present a suitable reform plan. If you believe the analysts, bankruptcy could come as early as April 8."
Germany the wrong scapegoat
It's wrong of the Greek government to heap blame on the Germans for their economic power, the daily Kurier writes and calls for more honesty on Tsipras's part: "He should finally come out and say that Greece would be much worse off without the solidarity of the EU member states. Whereby it's questionable whether he would survive explaining this truth to his multi-layered left-wing party. We in Europe are now seeing that 70 years is a relatively short period in the history of nations. Greeks who lived under the Nazi terror are still alive today. But they too must acknowledge that all the German governments since the war have stood for a European Germany, not a German Europe. However while the low interest rates have led to a ridiculous level of over-indebtedness in Greece the Germans have built up their export surplus with innovative products."
Tsipras must prevent Grexit
After his visit to Berlin Tsipras must show that he wants to change things in Greece if he wants to avoid a Grexit, the daily Dagens Nyheter warns: "The euro can withstand a Greek exit. Firewalls have been set up and private investors have for the most part left the playing field. ... Politically, however, a Grexit would be a huge blow to Europe. Even if no other country followed in Greece's footsteps, it would show that leaving the Eurozone is an option. Many Greeks would feel betrayed. And the risk is high that in abandoning the euro the country could change its course and move closer to Russia, for example. ... Tsipras isn't the only politician who must show respect for his voters; Merkel must also respect hers. The majority of Greeks want to keep the euro, according to the polls. A majority of Germans, by contrast, no longer want the Greeks in the Eurozone. If Tsipras and Syriza continue as they have done so far they will lead their country straight to a Grexit."