25 Aug 2012

Germany asked to give Greece a breather

7:18 am on 25 August 2012

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of Greece has asked Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany to give his country "breathing space" following a meeting of the two leaders in Berlin.

Mrs Merkel said she would not make "premature judgements" about Greece's progress towards meeting its reform targets in advance of an official report due next month.

She said Germany wanted Greece to remain in the eurozone. But it had to meet its reform targets.

"We're not asking for more money," said Mr Samaras at a joint news conference, adding that Greece needed "time to breathe".

The International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission are examining whether Greece is making sufficient progress towards reforming its public finances.

Greece's continued access to the bailout packages depends on a favourable report from them.

Mr Samaras will next travel to France on Saturday for talks with President Francois Hollande.

Mrs Merkel and Mr Hollande met on Thursday to discuss Greece and urged Athens to stick with the tough reforms.