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Prospect of Greek default raises tensions as Merkel and Tsipras meet in Berlin

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Prospect of Greek default raises tensions as Merkel and Tsipras meet in Berlin
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The prospect of Greece defaulting on its debt has been raised amid a meeting between Angela Merkel and Alexis Tsipras. The Greek and German leaders are holding talks in Berlin.

We have a clash between a democratic mandate to change economic and social policy on one hand, and the requirements of running smoothly and economy within a wider, economic integration project which is European unification

Ahead of the encounter the Financial Times reported that Tsipras wrote to Merkel saying it would be impossible for Greece to meet debt payments without further funding, given commitments made by the leftist government to reverse austerity measures.

The meeting has been portrayed in some media as a showdown between Merkel and Tsipras.

Dimitris Sotiropoulos, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Athens sees it as a clash between eurozone and Greek national interests: “We have a clash between a democratic mandate to change economic and social policy on one hand, and the requirements of running smoothly and economy within a wider, economic integration project which is European unification.”

Also adding a potential undercurrent of tension to the talks was a meeting on Sunday between the countries’ foreign ministers in which Greece is thought to have raised the issue of reparations dating back to the Nazi occupation of the country during the World War II.

Berlin says it is conscious of Germany’s historical responsibility, but is reluctant to link it to euro zone policy.

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