ND’s Mitsotakis meets Merkel, stresses that Greece belongs in Europe’s ‘inner core’

Meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, Greece’s main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis presented the New Democracy party’s firm position that Greece belongs to the “inner core” of Europe and the Eurozone.

In statements after the meeting, Mitsotakis said that he had “conveyed some images regarding the difficult times for Greeks, after seven and more years of economic and social crisis,” as well as the fact that the vast majority consider Greece’s place in the heart of Europe non-negotiable.

“We say a clear-cut no to a return to the drachma and those pushing such scenarios. Greece is and will remain a member of the Eurozone,” he stressed.

The current government’s delays and u-turns were “leading our creditors to have excessive demands,” Mitsotakis added, while Greek society was paying a heavy price of the failure of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to implement the bold changes Greece needs, many of which had no fiscal cost.

“The Tsipras government has no plan for the economy’s growth, for attracting investments, for creating jobs in the private sector,” Mitsotakis noted, while its incompetence and dogmatic attitudes had also created “dangerous situations” with regard to the refugee and migration crisis.

“More than ever, the country now needs a national plan for regrouping and reorgarnisation. I expressed our determination to make Greece a normal European state. Austerity without prospects and constant uncertainty are not what the Greek people deserve,” he said.

The meeting between Merkel and ND’s leader was held at the headquarters of the CDU party in Berlin and lasted for approximately an hour. Mitsotakis and Merkel spoke privately for about 20 minutes, after which they were joined by delegations from both sides. During the meeting, Mitsotakis outlined his party’s economic programme for extricating Greece from the crisis and expressed his concern about the state of the Greek economy.

Sources said that Mitsotakis emphasised the immense problems for Greek society, especially unemployment and poverty, saying that the pace of reforms and changes must be accelerated. ND’s leader also outlined his ideas for his party’s programme of reforms in a number of areas, including public administration, education and justice, while stressing that “ownership” of the reforms was the most vital element for Greece to overcome the crisis.

On the refugee and migration issue, Mitsotakis asked for Berlin’s political and practical support, though conceding that there had been delays in things that should have been done.

On Monday afternoon, ND’s president will meet with CDU MPs in the German Parliament.