Swoboda on Chancellor Merkel’s Greece visit: „6 hours is not enough to undo 4 years of austerity“

German chancellor Angela Merkel will tomorrow make her first visit to Greece since the beginning of the crisis, meeting Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras for talks.

Commenting on the visit, S&D Group President Hannes Swoboda said:

„It is high time that German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Greece. It already took Commission President Barroso a long time to visit to Greece and now Chancellor Merkel is finally going too – after years of commenting on the situation in Greece without any experience of the situation on the ground.

„I hope she will realise that the Troika’s recommendations, which she must look at, have thrown the country into a deep social crisis, with no sign of economic recovery. On the contrary, the country is suffering ever-deeper recession.

„As well as the urgent need to ease the social impact of the cuts, the country is in dire need of structural reforms, like the creation of an efficient and fair fiscal system and incentives for investment. If Chancellor Merkel were to offer expertise and support from Germany on these reforms, her visit could be of great use.“

On the austerity policies championed by Chancellor Merkel, Hannes Swoboda added:

„This visit is a chance for Chancellor Merkel to change her approach. A radical change away from the failed austerity policies is needed in Greece. The country needs growth and employment as well as social justice.

„Greece’s membership of the eurozone must not be questioned. The pressure for reform must be maintained, but an extension to the timeframe may be necessary to allow the changes to be implemented efficiently and constructively.“