Greek PM to visit Merkel in Berlin

Greek PM to visit Merkel in Berlin

New Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has accepted an invitation to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin next week, his office has said.

It will be his first visit since his January 25 election to Germany – a major contributor to Greece’s bailout that has insisted that Greece should stick to budget austerity measures if it wants to get more rescue loans.

Figures released on Monday by the Greek central bank suggested the country needs the money.

They showed the central government’s cash balance was 684 million euro (£487m) in deficit for the first two months of the year, compared with a surplus of 139 million euro (399m) in the same period of 2014.

Excluding interest payments, the surplus fell to 503 million euro (£359m) from 1.68 billion euro (£1.2bn) a year ago.

Mr Tsipras’ Syriza party came to power on a pledge to lighten the country’s rescue loans. It also wants to ease the budget surplus targets demanded by the rescue creditors, arguing they are too high and hindering the economic recovery.

The budget targets, which have involved spending cuts and tax increases, were meant to reduce debt but have also hurt the economy, putting it through a savage six-year recession.

Mr Tsipras’ government has convinced creditors to give it a four-month extension on the bailout programme, but to get the money it must still detail a list of reforms by the end of April.

If creditors do not approve the reforms, they will not unlock some 7 billion euro (£5bn) remaining in the loan funds.

More in this Section

Harry and Meghan leave royal life with pledge to help in coronavirus crisisHarry and Meghan leave royal life with pledge to help in coronavirus crisis

Strega Nona author Tomie dePaola dead at age 85Strega Nona author Tomie dePaola dead at age 85

New York governor begs for help amid ‘staggering’ death tollNew York governor begs for help amid ‘staggering’ death toll

UN chief says initial coronavirus cases in Syria just ‘tip of the iceberg’UN chief says initial coronavirus cases in Syria just ‘tip of the iceberg’


Lifestyle

Interiors voyeurism will never go out of style – not least when we’re all confined to barracks and eyeing up neglected corners of our own residences that could do with TLC.Home of the Year: Three doors swing open tonight to offer us a welcome distraction

With (hopefully) better weather on the way along with the longer evenings, gardening and nature offer a nice distraction to the news cycle.Podcast Corner: Green fingers and creature comforts

From Kaia Gerber to Oprah Winfrey, why not let a famous face choose your next read?The 4 best celebrity book clubs to virtually join

The tips and home treatments to stop your skin from backsliding.The Skin Nerd: How can I maintain my skin results at home?

More From The Irish Examiner