Alexis Tsipras and Angela Merkel hold press conference after debt talks - as it happened
Rolling business and financial news, as Greece’s prime minister visits Germany for talks with the German chancellor this afternoon
James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, has predicted this morning that Greece could leave the eurozone.
But speaking on CNBC, Bullard also warned it would be a mistake and leave Greeks facing a ‘bleak’ future.
Our Berlin correspondent, Kate Connolly, reports that German sentiment towards Greece has soured in recent months, as some lose patience with Athens’ demands for more help.
“I really don’t know how much longer we should keep patting their backs and telling them everything’s going to be alright – here’s an extra 100m.
If my son kept coming to me for money to get himself out of trouble, I’d help him immediately, but I’d want to see that he was trying to get out of any mess he’d got himself into, wouldn’t I? I couldn’t afford to keep tossing banknotes in his direction.”
Georg Franke, a 57-year-old market-stall holder in Potsdam, said while he believed the Greek government’s behaviour had been “childish”, he did not find its second world war compensation claims so outlandish.
“The trouble is, Germans know a lot about the atrocities carried out in their name by the Wehrmacht and the SS against the Jews from Germany, Poland and Hungary, as well as the Slavs, but we learnt very little in school about the horrors carried out against the Greeks. It was only recently, around the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, that I saw a documentary which touched on how they [Jewish Greeks] were almost all wiped out and it brought it home to me.”
The FTSE 100 index of leading shares has dropped back down to the 7,000 mark in early trading, down 22 points. So no new record high yet.
It should prove to be another decisive week for Greece as Greek Prime Minister Tsipras is set to meet German Chancellor Merkel.
Athens is hoping to improve relations with its biggest EU creditor before announcing a more detailed set of reforms required to unlock the next instalment of aid.
Hajo Funke, political scientist with Berlin’s Free University, says that “two worlds will collide” when Merkel and Tsipras sit down this afternoon
“There is the political world of Greece, where a left-wing government faces a society in collapse, (of) societal decay... as grave as anything we have seen in western Europe since 1945.”.
“The other world is a content country that is dominant in Europe, Germany, which worries about maintaining its economic happiness, and which is now being asked to help the other, under conditions it doesn’t fully understand.”
German politicians hope that Alexis Tsipras will arrive in Berlin with details of the new reform plans.
Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary leader of Merkel’s Social Democrat coalition partners, says Greece must deliver on the pledges made at Thursday night’s mini-summit in Brussels.
“I expect [Mr Tsipras] to present this list in his talks with the chancellor on Monday.
“I want to know once and for all if Greece is ready to reform or not.”
Alexis Tsipras has raised the stakes ahead of today’s meeting with Angela Merkel by declaring that Greece cannot meet looming debt repayments without help from its creditors.
In a letter sent to Germany last week, Tsipras warned that the lack of bailout funds mean it is “impossible” to service debt obligations due in the coming weeks (such as debt repayments and publc sector wage bills)
Given that Greece has no access to money markets, and also in view of the ‘spikes’ in our debt repayment obligations during the Spring and Summer of 2015 (primarily to the IMF), it ought to be clear that the ECB’s special restrictions when combined with the disbursement delays would make it impossible for any government to service its debt obligations.
Servicing these repayments through internal resources alone would, indeed, lead to a sharp deterioration in the already depressed Greek social economy – a prospect that I will not countenance.
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
German MPs laughed last week when Angela Merkel told them she was looking forward to meeting - and perhaps arguing - with her Greek counterpart today. But there may not be too much mirth in Berlin tonight as the chancellor hosts Alexis Tsipras for the first time.
On both sides, the talks are being seen as a “moment of truth.” Greece has made clear, under its new government, that it does not want to leave the eurozone and Tsipras his point that austerity needs to be eased. In Athens officials are putting on a brave face.
“We are looking forward to this meeting,” said the Greek government spokesman Gavriel Sakellarides. “There’s a good chemistry between the two leaders. It’s much better that they talk directly to one another.
Greek PM Tsipras & German Chancellor Merkel meeting agenda (GMT): 1600 - Meeting 1800 - Presser 1900 - Working dinner
Given all the measures that have been introduced by the ECB and signs of bottoming in data, there is a good chance Mr Draghi will give a more upbeat assessment of the economy.Continue reading...