Greece

Esther Bintliff

German chancellor Angela Merkel with Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras on October 9 in Athens (Thanassis Stavrakis/AFP/GettyImages)

The last time Angela Merkel visited Greece was in 2007 – which, incidentally, was also the last year the country recorded positive economic growth. Greece has seen its annual output shrink ever since; its economy rocked by a debt crisis, its political leaders repeatedly forced to go cap in hand to its richer eurozone cousins. Of these, Germany is the most important, but opinion polls suggest its public has long grown impatient with Athens’ failure to keep its promises. Locked in an embrace that neither would have chosen – Germany attempting to pull Greece out of its fiscal crisis; Greece, ever more dependent on Berlin’s support, but resenting its interference – the question is whether the two countries will hug tighter, or finally break apart. Could Merkel’s meeting with Antonis Samaras on Tuesday herald a friendlier era? Read more

Tony Barber

If Greek citizens aren’t angry enough at the condescending and ignorant manner in which northern Europeans discuss their plight, I invite them to inspect the opinions of Jürgen Ligi, Estonia’s finance minister.

An interview with Mr Ligi appeared on Monday on the extremely handy European affairs blog that is published by the London School of Economics.

In answer to the question “Do you think that austerity measures in countries like Greece have gone far enough?”, here’s what the Estonian minister said:

“I honestly haven’t seen any austerity in Greece. It’s a rich country with a high level of consumption, and the present situation in Greece is far better than what we experienced in Estonia in the early 1990s. They are spending a lot – much more than they earn – so it can’t be called austerity.”

Let’s think about that.

Greece is projected next year to endure its sixth consecutive year of deep recession. By then, economic output will be 25 per cent below the peak of the boom years that marked Greece’s initial experience of eurozone membership. Read more

By Gideon Rachman

“This is what you have to do, if you want the people to build statues of you on horseback.” Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was doubtless being whimsical when he urged his colleagues to make bold decisions about the future of Europe. But the former French president’s remark offers a telling insight into the mentality that created the great euro-mess of today.

We’ve got plenty of brain food for you today:

Here’s what piqued our interest today: 

Here are our picks from the weekend and this morning to start off your week’s reading:

Here are some of the articles, photo essays and blog posts that have attracted our attention from today’s FT and elsewhere:

We had plenty to chat about today on the world desk, with these articles:

By Gideon Rachman

The night before the Greek elections, Athens exploded in joy. The Greek national team had won an unexpected victory at the European football championships. In the next round, with delicious symbolism, Greece will play Germany.