The debt crisis has dominated Greek politics for many years. At his meeting with his counterpart Nikos Kotzias at Villa Borsig in Berlin on 29 May, Heiko Maas commended the reform efforts undertaken by the Greek Government. The main focus, besides the transatlantic relationship, Russia and China, was on European issues and German-Greek relations. In this context, Foreign Minister Maas made particular mention of the reform efforts undertaken by Greece:
Greece has expended considerable energy in overcoming the debt crisis. For that it deserves great respect. I am delighted that the Greek budget situation has improved in recent years. We know that this was not an easy path.
The third economic adjustment programme for Greece will come to an end in August. Maas went on to say that it was now important for the Greek economy to maintain its positive development in the long term.
Bilateral relations between Germany and Greece are diverse. As well as close political exchange, considerable cooperation takes place in fields such as science and technology, culture and education. A German-Greek Youth Office is to be established before the end of this year, and intensive preparations in this area are already under way.
In the face of global challenges - more Europe
In view of the common challenges facing Europe, Maas emphasised: “On the continent in recent weeks it has become increasingly clear that the response to the major global challenges can only be a united Europe. No country is large enough to be able to promote its interests in the world single-handedly. That is why we need more Europe, not less – now more than ever.”
New government in Italy :
Another topic of the press conference and the talks was the formation of a new government in Italy. The Foreign Minister had this to say: “No government, whatever its constellation, will be able to harm the deep friendship and partnership between Germany and Italy in the long term.” Maas went on to say that Germany had an obligation to engage with whoever had been elected by the Italian voters.