At the same time, the trip shows Merkel's trust in Samaras. Aides to the chancellor say they have been positively surprised by his commitment to reform. One reason for not visiting Greece before was frustration with progress under his predecessors, technocrat Lucas Papademos and Socialist George Papandreou.
"In our view Samaras is really trying to get things done," one German official said, requesting anonymity. "Nobody should see this trip as a sign that all is perfect. But we recognise things are moving in the right direction."