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Greeks reject Merkel's support

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 02:21

Oct.09 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to Greece for the first time since the euro zone crisis broke out to show her support for their austerity measures. Her visit was accompanied by angry protests. After five years of recession, many Greeks can't take any more. Joanna Partridge reports

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Greece hasn't been far from the German Chancellor's thoughts since the euro zone crisis erupted, but Angela Merkel hasn't visited for five years. She travelled to Athens to show her support - for the government's tough austerity measures as it battles to get its finances under control. But she didn't bring her Greek counterpart Antonis Samaras the promise of new money. SOUNDBITE: German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, saying (German): "I came here with the firm knowledge and awareness that the period Greece is currently experiencing is a very difficult one, especially for the people in Greece, that many people are suffering, that a lot is being demanded of them and that's why I also like to say that a large part of the distance has already been covered." Her speech did not go down well with Greeks After five years of recession many blame her - and Germany - for painful austerity measures - conditions of two bailout packages. Thousands ignored restrictions on public gatherings giving 6,000 police officers a difficult job. As well as scuffles in front of the Greek parliament some protestors burned Nazi flags. Merkel has certainly changed her tune about Greece in recent months - she now wants to keep them in the euro zone. And - says Christian Schulz from Berenberg Bank - she's trying to deflect criticism that she's demanded cuts without offering sympathy. SOUNDBITE: Christian Schulz, Senior Economist, Berenberg Bank, saying (English): "Germany does not want to put up any new money ahead of next year's elections. The IMF wants to know now what will happen over the next few years to Greek funding, a compromise will be forged. And the Europeans have one big ally on the other side of the Atlantic, the American government also does not want the Greek situation to spiral out of control again." The troika of international lenders will report on Athens' progress in early November - weeks before Greece runs out of money. Without their vote of confidence the next 31 billion euro instalment of aid won't be handed over. Merkel's show of support may be intended to bolster the government, but what Greece really needs is cash - and a way out of the crisis. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Greeks reject Merkel's support

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 - 02:21

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