Chancellor Merkel, who faces elections next year, has tied her political fate to the survival of the common currency. But despite her efforts, Greece's economy continues to reel.
Angela Merkel’s visit to Athens was short, lasting just a few hours, and it came late: The Greek debt crisis has been raging for three years now. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras greeted the German chancellor warmly, but quite predictably tens of thousands of Greeks protesting in the streets told her she wasn’t welcome. So why did she come, and what did her visit achieve?
Ms. Merkel has tied her political fate to the survival of the common currency. “If the euro fails, Europe will fail,” she keeps repeating in every speech she gives about the eurocrisis. With general elections in Germany less than a year away, the chancellor needs some progress in the solution of this crisis, but a Greek sovereign default and subsequent exit from the eurozone would be a huge setback for her.
The problem is this is still a likely scenario. After three years of countless emergency summits, two bailout packages worth €240 billion ($308 billion), and a debt write-off of 75 percent by private creditors as well as heavy cuts in public spending, Greece is still not safe.