Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting Athens, Greece on October 28 and 29. As part of her last official visit to the Greek capital as Chancellor of Germany, she will meet once again with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Merkel was invited to visit Greece by Mitsotakis during an EU Summit meeting in Slovenia earlier this month.
Merkel to meet with Mitsotakis in Athens, Greece
The outgoing Chancellor, who has led Germany for the past 16 years, had dinner with Mitsotakis on Thursday evening, and then will meet the Greek PM on Friday morning at the Maximos Mansion. A joint press conference is scheduled afterward at 12:30.
On Friday, the Chancellor will also be received by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou.
The leaders are expected to discuss European and international policy, climate change, and migration.
Merkel’s visit to Athens is “an important sign of the close – and in the spirit of trust – cooperation between the two countries, including in the European context,” Deputy Speaker of the German Federal Government Ulrike Demmer said.
German Chancellor’s visit to Turkey
The Chancellor’s arrival in Greece comes after the conclusion of her last official visit to Turkey.
Merkel enjoyed a friendly relationship with Turkey, despite periods of crisis. Germany shares a close bond with Turkey as more than three million people of Turkish origin are naturalized German citizens.
Erdogan took power in Turkey just two years before Merkel became German Chancellor in 2005. The Turkish President stated during a press conference in Istanbul on October 16 that he hopes “that our successful work with Mrs. Merkel will continue in the same way under the new government.”
The German Chancellor quelled any fears about future relations between the countries by expressing that the incoming government, which will be formed from a coalition of multiple political parties, would continue the goodwill.
“We always have common interests, and that’s how the next federal government will see it,” Merkel stated during her visit.
While in Turkey, Merkel discussed Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey’s clashes with the EU with Erdogan.
Despite frequent acts of aggression against EU member states such as Greece and Cyprus by Turkey, Germany has often tried to strengthen ties between the EU and the country.
Most notably, the two leaders discussed the issue of migration during their meeting in October. Since the refugee crisis began in 2015, Germany has accepted millions of migrants and refugees, many of whom entered Europe from the Middle East and Asia through Turkey, into the country.
Mentioning Greece, Erdogan stressed that although Turkey cannot accept more refugees, the country will not keep its borders closed and send refugees back to countries where they may be in danger, “like Greece did.”
In reference to relations between Greece and Turkey, Merkel stressed the continued need for discussion and diplomacy between the neighboring countries.