Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras talks light on substance – but at least they’re smiling again

Chris Papadopoullos
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Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras
German Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a conciliatory tone with her Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras during talks last night as the two sought to repair the countries’ torn political relations.

However, no substantial policy agreements were made with Greece still facing the prospect of running out of cash if it is unable to propose a suitable list of reforms to the Eurogroup – the group of Eurozone finance officials.

“There was an appetite for cooperation. We have differences on some issues but there is a willingness to work together,” Merkel said.

Tsipras was also in high spirits. “I brought spring weather with me from Athens and I hope Greek-German relations will continue in this climate,” he said.

The amicable rhetoric came despite further insistence from Tsipras that Germany pay war reparations as well as a loan that was forced on Greece’s central bank during Nazi occupation.

“Despite the conciliatory tone struck by Merkel, the German position on Greece has not changed,” Nina Schick, a policy analyst at think tank Open Europe, told City A.M. “As far as Berlin and the rest of Greece’s creditors are concerned, the time for talking is over – and it is now up to the Tsipras government to deliver on the Eurogroup agreement of 20 February. They will insist on the implementation of the structural reforms promised by Athens before releasing the next tranche of bailout money.”

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