Optimism has made a welcome return to the negotiations surrounding Greece’s financial future. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras left a top-level meeting of heads of state in Brussels last Friday saying he was hopeful about his country’s future. Meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that if Greece presented specific reforms, financial aid would be unlocked, remarks that sent the euro and oil soaring at the end of the week. But the Greeks need to do a lot more to remove any chance they might be forced into a “Grexit” that would be ruinous to the country and the other members of the euro zone.
Tsipras and Merkel will be meeting again Monday evening in Berlin in an effort to improve their strained relationships. The countries’ two finance ministers, Wolfgang Schaeuble and Yanis Varoufakis, have been continuously clashing on issues including the Greek loan agreement and German war reparations.
Left-wing Tspiras and his Syriza party were elected on January 25th on a promise to scrap harsh austerity, which came as a condition of the two bailout loans, worth 240 billion euros, that the country received to stop it from defaulting. But SYRIZA’s suggestions on rolling back the agreement have met with steely resistance from Germany. In the meantime, the government has to deal with pressing financing needs, capital flight from Greek banks and a reduction in tax receipts. Amid all this, the Greek government’s strong rhetoric not to back down has made analysts wonder, whether the country would actually want out of the common currency.
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