Opinion: More was not expected | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 09.10.2012
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Opinion: More was not expected

Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Athens brought no tangible results. Despite this, the trip was still important and useful, says DW's Peter Stützle.

It was a good move for Chancellor Angela Merkel to immediately accept the recent invitation to Athens from Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. And this from the very same man that until recently made Merkel see red as he sabotaged all the previous administration's efforts at reform in his former role as leader of the opposition.

Despite this, and the fact that many Greeks see Merkel as partly responsible for the unstable situation in their country, some even linking her to Nazism, the chancellor did not hesitate to travel to Athens.

The visit was an important sign of solidarity with the Greeks. With her public words, Merkel made this fact magnificently clear. But the visit did not represent anything more, it could not.

It's up to the Greek government and the Greek parliament to implement the reforms that will bring back the country's creditworthiness. It's up to the troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission to evaluate these reforms. Only when their recommendations have been made available will Merkel be back in the spotlight, to decide on a new aid package for Greece along with the other EU leaders and to convince her parliament in Berlin.

Merkel's visit was also a sign to the German public, that the Greeks do not deserve to be disparaged with frivolous remarks from politicians and the media. In these difficult times, they deserve compassion - and support, provided that they themselves create the conditions under which they can be helped.

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