Angela Merkel Gets a Chilly Welcome in Greece
Germany's Angela Merkel did not get a warm welcome as she traveled to Greece. More than any other nation, Germany has pressed austerity measures there and threatened to withhold aid. Many Greeks understand that a huge bailout has become necessary, but that has not kept them from resentment. Merkel has been greeted with protests, which are nothing special in Greece.
She apparently flew to the country to join hands with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the architect of many budget cuts. She also will voice support for Greece remaining in the European Union. But that support may not mean much. Greeks have read the polls from Germany that show little voter support for bailouts. Merkel's job may be on the line when national elections happen in 2013. And German support has come with more and more insistence that Greece has not cut its budget enough.
Ties between the two countries run deep. Thousands of Greeks came to Germany there after World War Two as "guest workers" to help rebuild the shattered country and more than 300,000 Greeks currently reside there.
But relations are also clouded by the atrocities Greeks suffered at the hands of the Nazis during World War Two.
Douglas A. McIntyre