Greek PM will hold talks with Angela Merkel in Berlin over budget deficit

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet with Angela Merkel in Berlin today to discuss bailout conditions. In particular, Mitsotakis

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Photo: ND Press Office/Dimitris Papamitsos

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will meet with Angela Merkel in Berlin today to discuss bailout conditions. In particular, Mitsotakis will be hoping to persuade Ms Merkel, one of Greece’s creditors, to lower the primary surplus target and loosen restrictions on the Greek budget from a 3.5% deficit.

Elected last month on a platform of economic liberalisation, Mitsotakis is seeking to cut taxes, partially privatize health care and universities, increase public spending, and lift capital controls.

In the past, Merkel has been both an advocate and enforcer of Greek austerity measures. Her visit to Athens earlier in January sparked anti-austerity protests throughout the country, which had to be quelled by security forces.

Merkel has pointed to past rescue programs as a building block for fostering better relations between the two states.

To be sure, economic conditions in Greece are steadily improving—unemployment has reduced from 20.5% to 17% in the past year, while economic growth has also picked up. Still, Greece will likely require further debt relief and is hoping that Germany pull back on some of the spending restrictions it had previously endorsed and advocated for.