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Op-Ed: Solidarity with Samaras — The reason for Merkel's Athens visit

By Katerina Nikolas     Oct 9, 2012 in World
Athens - Greece's fragile coalition government is in danger of imploding. Reluctant coalition partners make political waves over new austerity measures, corruption lurks beneath the surface, bankruptcy beckons. So why did Angela Merkel choose this moment to visit?
During Greece's national elections it was clear that Antonis Samaras, leader of New Democracy, was the EU's Prime Minister of choice for Greece, the candidate most likely to play ball with the Troika of international lenders, the EU, ECB and IMF.
Democracy had little to do with the outcome of the elections which propelled the EU's man of choice into the pivotal post, eager to comply with the Troika's bidding of yet more austerity measures to be forced onto an already broken economy. It was sold to the Greek electorate as their last chance to remain within the euro, with dramatic pictures of the consequences of a Grexit.
The excellent Slog quotes a Greek source revealing the reason behind Merkel's surprise visit to Athens is "to give a signal that Samaras has her confidence." Samaras has admitted he has “grave concerns about PASOK and the coalition."
The Slog reported "slippery slob Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos has been up to every divisive trick in the book." There is speculation that Venizelos's game is geopolitics; speculation he is having some kind of breakdown; speculation he wants to make Samaras appear weak.
According to a Slog source “Samaras is considered a dead duck, with his days numbered following the latest Troika round of cuts.” The Slog speculated "this probably brings on Frau Merkel’s occasional twitch, I’d venture to suggest that this is almost certainly the reason for her flying visit."
Ekathimerini questions why, with the potential for Merkel's visit to be a complete disaster, she and Samaras thought it might be a good idea. Ekathimerini ventures the answer lies in Merkel's domestic political machinations: "Merkel is sending a clear message to her colleagues that backing its (Greece's) continued membership of the eurozone is now the party and government line. It is an invitation to doubters to back her or keep quiet." Samaras would have no choice but to play host in spite of the visit meaning central Athens has been turned into a fortress.
The visit has the potential for complete disaster, but if carried off with minimum disruption and some choice photo-ops it will reinforce the notion that Samaras remains the EU's man in Athens.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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