Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe, travelled to the Greek capital on Monday (30 March) for political talks with members of the Greek Government, members of parliament and representatives of civil society.
Michael Roth’s visit to Athens continued the close contact between the governments in Berlin and Athens that had its first visible high point last week with the visits by Greek Prime Minister Tsipras and Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias to Berlin. This was Roth’s eighth visit to Greece since taking up office. The aim was to build up on previous talks and to explore how bilateral relations between Germany and Greece can be further developed in concrete ways.
Close and intensive contact
To this end, Minister of State Roth met his Greek counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolaos Chountis, whom he had previously met on 13 February as the first member of the German cabinet to call on his new opposite number in Athens following the change of government. Minister of State Roth said this contact is now being continued and intensified. “The most important currency in Europe is not the euro – the most important currency is trust.”
Developing German-Greek relations in concrete ways
Roth also met other members of the Greek Government: Nikos Pappas, Minister of State to the Prime Minister, and Economy Minister Giorgos Stathakis. The ministers agreed on a joint road map for further developing German‑Greek relations. The first step will involve examining all current projects. The next step will be to decide what should be continued and where new ideas are needed. After his talks, Minister of State Roth reiterated the outlook for bilateral cooperation, saying that “it is not a question of German projects in Greece, but rather of German-Greek projects in Greece that we can work on together.”
Roth also held talks with Stavros Theodorakis, leader and founder of the opposition party To Potami.
Concrete assistance for people in need
The visit to Boroume (which means “we can” in Greek), an association founded in 2011 to distribute surplus food to people in need and charitable organisations, left a particularly strong impression on the German delegation. “Greece will only be out of the woods when there is no longer a need for Boroume’s work. But until then, we can be happy about the enormous dedication and solidarity shown by the volunteers,” Minister of State Roth said after his visit.