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Greek Prime Minister in Berlin

Fair reallocation of refugees within the EU

Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Greece must not be left to cope with the refugee crisis alone. Greece and Germany are also working for a fair reallocation of refugees within the EU, she said during the visit of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Berlin.

Chancellor Angela Merkel in conversation with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras The phase that Greece is going through is not easy and Germany intends to provide as much bilateral support as possible, says Chancellor Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

Greece is facing "massive challenges" said Chancellor Angela Merkel before her meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Federal Chancellery. Greece and Germany will thus be pressing for a fair redistribution of refugees within the EU. Greece cannot be left alone with the problem, declared Angela Merkel.

The Chancellor also pointed out that there is very close cooperation in conjunction with the EU-Turkey Agreement. Procedures here are not yet quite as swift as would be desirable, she said. She reported that she would also be discussing the NATO operation in the Aegean with the Greek Prime Minister. This operation is an important element of efforts to make it clear to smugglers and human traffickers that action will be taken against illegal activities, declared Angela Merkel.

Close cooperation

The Chancellor stressed that Germany and Greece enjoy good and close relations, and that they are involved in a wide spectrum of cooperation arrangements.

Economic relations
German companies are active in Greece mainly in the retail sector, the pharmaceutical industry and in infrastructure projects. With bilateral trade worth EUR 6.6 billion, Germany is Greece’s most important trading partner (2015 figures). German companies are among the principal foreign investors in the country. Deutsche Telekom has a 40 per cent stake in the partially state-owned Greek telecommunications company OTE.

The foreign affairs ministers of the two countries signed the German-Greek action plan on 4 December. It provides for closer cooperation in the fields of politics, business and the academic and research community, and reflects the entire spectrum of cooperation that exists between the two countries. The Chancellor also pointed to municipal level contacts between the two states.

Cooperation is to be extended. The phase that Greece is going through is not easy, and Germany "intends to support it as far as possible at bilateral level", said the Chancellor.

Reform process
Germany is supporting the reform process in Greece, also within the framework of the EU. German experts have to date been working primarily in the fields of the health system, local government reform, and renewable energy and energy efficiency. In future they will also be providing support in the export promotion sector. Currently German experts are assisting the Greek government with asylum procedures, the coordination of refugee aid and in efforts to clamp down on criminal human traffickers.

Dec 16, 2016