“Greece has earned everyone’s respect, but even more so its people, because they have endured all these painful sacrifices. Citizens paid for the mistakes made by politicians over 20 years. When I describe the cuts that have been made to my visitors, they wonder that a civil war has not broken out, something that I could not swear would not have happened in my country,” said the German ambassador to Athens, Jens Ploetner, during his speech on “Greece and Germany, two allied countries: prospects and obstacles”, in the Hellenic-German Union “Philadelphia”.
“Greece has left the programme, but reforms need to be pursued consistently. Although the exit is a milestone, the ultimate goal has not yet been achieved. We still have to do a lot of things,” he said, adding: “The strengthening of social tools to help the weak is completely understandable, but on the other hand the lesson of the 2010 Agenda is that the best social policy is the one that generates growth, because that’s how you can give more. Every euro earned can be made available for social support. That is why our gaze is on Thessaloniki, on Mr. Tsipras’ speech, to see what the Greek government intends to do to find the difficult balance between a fully understandable social policy and a future-oriented policy development and investment. I am convinced that if the right mix is found, Greece has every possibility to move forward. All macroeconomic indicators are on the rise and we all wish to get even stronger. If this policy continues consistently, then citizens will be able to enjoy the fruits of success in the foreseeable future.”
The German Ambassador noted that the migration and future of Europe were two issues that brought Greece and Germany closer. “Mrs Merkel and Mr Tsipras found that they were on the same ship, we were on the same side, and we found that we can work as partners, as allies. The deal with Turkey was the result of a joint effort between Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Tsipras. Germany is Greece’s biggest supporter in the enormous problems that emerge from migration. It was an important step in improving our relationships. Tsipras and Merkel achieved it together. ”
“We realised that despite the different configurations of the two governments, we had similar positions for the future of Europe and that was another key factor in improving the climate of our relations,” Ploetner underlined.