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Greeks seek German 'yes' on debt

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 02:11

German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds talks with her Greek counter-part. As David Pollard reports, the meeting comes as France calls for more time to meet its deficit targets and protests rev up again in Greece.

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Tour time in Athens - only, with a twist. On the itinerary: life on the streets during the financial crisis. A homeless shelter, a theatre building that used to be a drugs den, and people sleeping rough some of the sights. Many are still homeless. Guide, Labros, knows because he's one of them. SOUNDBITE (Greek) HOMELESS TOUR GUIDE, LABROS MOUSTAKIS, SAYING: "The crisis was a slap in the face and it made me fall to my knees. But I said damn it, I have to fight, I cannot let them cripple me and bury me." Greece's debt crisis cost far more than its 240 billion bailout from the EU and IMF. Social and political unrest are still very much there. This is the aftermath of a anti-fascist rally last week. This week, public sector workers are back on strike over job cuts. But the message from prime minister Samaras to his German hosts is: we're on the way back up. SOUNDBITE (Greek) GREEK PRIME MINISTER, ANTONIS SAMARAS: "In the third quarter of 2014 we will finally have positive figures and economic growth." He's likely to tell Chancellor Merkel that Greece doesn't need another bailout. But that it does want debt relief to make its existing debt more manageable - and to make it easier to raise capital on financial markets. There's also a suspicion it may seek wriggle room on deficit reduction. Chris Beauchamp of IG. SOUNDBITE (English) CHRIS BEAUCHAMP, MARKET COMMENTATOR, IG: ''Certainly I think Greece is aware that there is maybe a shifting of the wind in Europe at the moment and that the sort of German caucus for structural reforms over other efforts by the ECB is now weakening. Especially now France has taken that lead and Greece is now sensing that its opportunity lies in trying to ally itself with the new approach in Paris against the Germans and try and use that as a means of delaying any further reforms. I think they'll press very hard for that.'' Germany is thought likely to be unreceptive. And the debt relief request may get a chilly reception from financial markets - and drive up the cost of Greek borrowing. Some private investors fear debt relief will shift more of the risk on to them - and away from the EU and IMF. A fear that's already pushed yields on Greek debt up to their highest level in a month.

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Greeks seek German 'yes' on debt

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 02:11