German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in an appearance at a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, told the media on Friday that "We expect Greece to deliver all that has been promised," and that "Our aim is for Greece to remain in the eurozone, despite all the problems that exist," as quoted by Athens News. Germany's vote of confidence in Greece's continued membership in the European Union (EU) follows on the heels of similar statements by Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker, who also supports allowing Greece to stay in the EU.
Samaras has been vocal in his calls for more time to meet the austerity terms set forth by the eurozone in return for some 130 billion euros in bailout funds. Juncker on Wednesday expressed some sympathy for his concerns, but Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are reportedly holding firm on the terms of the original agreement, according to BBC News.
Here is some of the key information to emerge from talks between Merkel and Samaras on Friday.
* Samaras was in Berlin on Friday to speak with Merkel, before moving on to Paris on Saturday to meet with Hollande.
* According to reports by the Associated Press, Samaras told Merkel that Greece needs "time to breathe" while it institutes the reforms that the eurozone has demanded. He has argued that Greece needs an extension on the deadline for those reforms, which is currently set at mid-2014.
* Merkel, for her part, said on Friday that Germany expects Greece to implement the reforms that it agreed to in exchange for the bailout funds, and that "deeds follow words," as quoted by the Associated Press. She also said that in return for those deeds, however, that Greece "can rightly expect from Germany that we do not pass premature judgements."
* Juncker, Merkel, and the rest of the eurozone are waiting for a report from the "troika" -- otherwise known as the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission -- that is overseeing the disbursement of funds to Greece and monitoring the nation's progress towards implementing the terms of the loan agreement.
* That report is due to be released in mid-September, according to a report by Ekathirmerini. Merkel said on Friday that Germany would not make any final recommendations as to whether or not Greece should get the rest of its bailout money until the results of the troika's findings were released.
* In a press conference with Samaras on Wednesday, Juncker had said that Greece was "facing its last chance" to make the required reforms, while praising efforts that the nation has already undertaken, according to BBC News.
Vanessa Evans is a musician, traveler, and freelance writer with an interest in European studies and events.
- Politics & Government