Hardouvelis: We have to enter a new relationship from January 1st

Speaking after meeting Schaeuble in Berlin, Hardouvelis said the talks focused on the progress of economic reforms in Greece and the outlook for the country’s relationship with its international creditors following the end of the European arm of the bailout on December 31. “We have to enter a new relationship from January 1st” Hardouvelis said. “The German side understands this, that we must find a solution soon, and set the parameters for the relationship.”

Hardouvelis said the issue of the so-called troika – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund – was not discussed at all during the meeting, noting that it was “a discussion between two states.” “Germany has its opinion, and has helped Greece repeatedly,” Hardouvelis said, adding that the two sides were now discussing a “mutually acceptable solution going forward.”

The Greek minister appeared confident that Berlin would continue to help Greece, describing Schaeuble as “pro-European.” “He wants a strong euro, a strong eurozone, and it was emphasized during our meeting that in order to have a strong eurozone, we must have a strong Greece.”

Separately, the prospects for an early bailout exit, and the conditions attached to such a scenario, are to be discussed on Thursday by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his coalition partner, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos. The reforms Greece has pledged to the troika, whose representatives are due back in Athens next month, will also be reviewed.