Merkel visits Tsipras in Athens

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras today in Athens. Relations between the two countries have been far from good in recent years, above all due to Germany's insistence on the austerity programme during the euro crisis, which hit the Greeks particularly hard. All water under the bridge now?

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Chancellor coming to PM's aid

Merkel's visit comes at an awkward moment for Tsipras, whose coalition government is on the verge of collapse, the Süddeutsche Zeitung notes:

“Merkel's most important message in Athens [should] clearly be understood as a bid to help Tsipras in the elections. ... The chancellor is there to praise Tsipras for a historic breakthrough, the agreement the prime minister negotiated with his Macedonian colleague Zoran Zaev. ... But the Greek Parliament has yet to give its blessing. Tsipras' smaller right-wing populist coalition partner, the Independent Greeks, does not want to give it. And the big conservative opposition party Nea Dimokratia also isn't willing to deliver the votes needed for the historic agreement to pass. Merkel wants to counter this and send a message, to support Tsipras when others want to topple him. One wouldn't have considered this possible a few years ago.”

Proto Thema (GR) /

An unwelcome guest

For Proto Thema it's unclear what Merkel is supposed to achieve in Greece:

“Even now that Merkel has become a political mummy she still takes the same stance towards the Greek government: she lectures, goads and makes demands. ... One wonders why Alexis Tsipras believes her presence in Athens is in any way useful. Even at the height of her power she wasn't particularly liked in our country. Why should things be any different today? ... Just what does he expect from the chancellor? That she'll put pressure on those who oppose the decision on the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia? That she'll praise the government for 'successfully' implementing the austerity memorandum where others failed? That she'll help the Greek economy and attract investors? Even her 'success' with the German economy is being questioned.”