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Anger over Merkel's first crisis Greek trip

Monday, October 08, 2012 - 02:04

Oct.08 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will tell Greeks she wants to keep their country in the euro when she visits Athens, but she faces a hostile reception from a people worn down by years of austerity and recession. Sonia Legg reports

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Greece has long been a favourite destination for German sun seekers but in recent years it hasn't been on Angela Merkel's travel itinerary. The German Chancellor last visited in 2007 - long before the recent crisis really took hold. And this time she's not the most welcome visitor. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) TAXI DRIVER, 54, SAYING: "She needs to show more consideration for us Greeks because we have given a lot more than others have given in other countries. She should also show more respect for our culture." Headlines like "Alarm over Merkel" reflect the mood in Athens. And the authorities are taking no chances. 6,000 police officers will be deployed during her six hour visit in an attempt to turn the city into a no-go zone for protestors. And there almost certainly will be protests, says Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) COMMUNIST PARTY LEADER ALEKA PAPARIGA SAYING: "We are calling on workers to raise their heads in mass protest against the Samaras Government and against Ms. Merkel. The purpose of this visit is to blackmail and intimidate the people, to muzzle them ahead of the destructive measures that are coming" Many Greeks blame Merkel for their plight, she's even been characterised as a bullying Nazi. But the ruling coalition government sees her visit as an endorsement of their progress. Prime Minister Antonis Samaris says it's confirmation that Germany wants Greece to remain in the euro zone. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER ANTONIS SAMARAS SAYING: "It is a very positive development that the chancellor has accepted our invitation to Athens and we will welcome her as is befitting of a leader of a great, friendly nation such as Germany." A Greek exit from the euro hasn't yet been ruled out. The troika continues to examine the country's finances - the next instalment of bailout cash won't be approved until they're satisfied. And most now accept - regardless who visits - Greece now needs more time and probably more money to stay in the euro. Sonia Legg, Reuters

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Anger over Merkel's first crisis Greek trip

Monday, October 08, 2012 - 02:04