Merkel says she wants Greece to stay in the euro

AFP , Friday 24 Aug 2012

German Chancellor Angela Merkel insists that Greece should remain in the eurozone after meeting the PM of the debt-wracked state

Merkel & Samaras
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, talks to Prime Minister of Greece Antonis Samaras, during a welcome ceremony at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. (Photo: AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted here on Friday that she wanted debt-wracked Greece to remain in the eurozone and voiced confidence Athens was doing all it could to solve its problems.

Merkel was speaking after talks with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who said Athens needed more "breathing space" to carry out cuts and reforms to qualify for more aid but insisted he was not asking for more cash.

"We don't want more aid ... but we need breathing space," the Greek leader said, speaking through an interpreter, at a joint press conference with Merkel in the German capital.

Greece would respect and fulfil its commitments, he said, adding that he was convinced a progress report by international auditors next month would show the new Greek government would soon provide "results".

"I am deeply convinced that the new Greek government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Samaras is doing everything to solve the problems that Greece is facing," Merkel told reporters.

"We know that this requires great sacrifices ... and Germany has always said that it will support Greece in this.

"I want to say very clearly -- since the beginning of the debt crisis, I have always made this clear and this is also the goal of the whole federal government -- that Greece is part of the eurozone and I want Greece to remain part of the eurozone.

"This guides all our discussion, because we know that the euro is much more than just a currency. It is an idea," she said.

Samaras is on a two-day trip to Berlin and then to Paris with his debt-wracked country's future in the 17-nation eurozone in the balance as its cash reserves dry up and a new injection of European funds hangs by a thread.

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