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A Greek-German Drama


Nothing embodies the growing distance between Greece and the 18 other eurozone members like the personal relationship between Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras: a drama in three acts.


© REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

Act I: From March 16th – Looking for Something to Build on

It is March 16, 2015. A long silence between the far-left-far-right coalition in Athens and the German government breaks as Angela Merkel and Alexis Tspiras finally talk on the phone. German politicians and top officials had watched – at first amazed, then irritated – as the new Greek leaders systematically avoided Berlin for weeks. In place of introductory phone calls or visits there had been silence. Tsipras’ team had intentionally sought symbolic gestures to show they were following a new European policy. The German leadership was left waiting.

Initially, there was some understanding for Tsipras’ behavior in Berlin. He and Merkel are considered opposites, at least in Athens. He, the left-wing, 40-year-old elected to pull politics not only in Greece but across the EU to the left. And she, the 60-year-old conservative who has ruled for nearly a decade. Although she is seen in northern Europe as the guarantor of thrifty budgetary policy, in Greece she is the symbol of cold-hearted austerity.

Read the complete article in the Berlin Policy Journal App – July/August 2015 issue.