Greece wants debt crisis cure within EU, no US meddling
Greece’s foreign minister said his left-wing government wants to resolve the nation’s debt squeeze with Europe, dismissing suggestions Athens could seek help from the United States,
Russia or China.
“My favourite is Europe and I hope that Europe will understand that it is our top favourite,” said Nikos Kotzias, playing down recent comments about a “Plan B” by his cabinet colleague, Defence Minister Panos Kammenos, which sparked speculation Athens might be considering looking beyond the continent for help to soften its debt and bailout pain.
Greece wants a European solution, asks to be treated as an equal partner, and seeks an alternative arrangement promoting social justice and growth, Kotzias said at the start of a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin. Kotzias will travel to Moscow on Wednesday at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the foreign ministry in Athens said in an earlier statement.
The Greek government has said it has a 10-point plan to convince sceptical creditors to ease the country’s bailout obligations, ahead of a an emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Wednesday. Kotzias also said, as he turned toward Steinmeier, that he would address the question of further reparations for Nazi Germany’s crimes during World War II and the repayment of war loans, a sensitive subject that has recently been discussed in the Greek parliament.
Steinmeier responded that “we Germans are aware of the political and moral responsibility for the terrible events of 1941-1944 in Greece” but reiterated Berlin’s rejection of the demand.
“Legally, however, our opinion has not changed,” said Steinmeier. “We remain of the firm opinion that all reparations have been settled once and for all.”
Meanwhile, the Greek government was fine-turning details of a reform deal it hopes to seal with sceptical EU creditors at crucial talks this week to liberate the country from a “toxic” bailout. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faced a confidence vote in parliament over his policy package, but while he was expected to breeze through his first domestic political test, time to woo those holding the purse-strings was running out.