ATHENS, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Solidarity is the only way to deal with the energy crisis, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview with Greek newspaper Ta Nea before a visit to Athens.
“Europe as a whole is suffering from the high prices of natural gas and I am convinced: We can overcome the crisis only with solidarity,” Scholz was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Scholz visited the ancient temples on the Acropolis in Athens on Thursday.
Relations between Greece and Germany have improved since the Greek debt crisis that broke out in late 2009 and forced Athens to sign up to three international bailouts on tough and unpopular austerity terms, many of them suggested by Germany.
Greece emerged from its last bailout in 2018. It was looking forward to a strong economic recovery before the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy crisis that has rattled Europe.
EU ministers and leaders have been struggling to agree on a way to contain natural gas prices and help their people cope with inflation.
Around 15 EU states, including Greece, want an EU-wide price cap, citing the inflationary pressure that recent gas price spikes unleashed on their economies. Economic powerhouse Germany leads a small group of states opposed to price caps.
Scholz is expected to discuss the issue with Mitsotakis on Thursday, along with the flare-up in tensions between NATO allies Greece and Turkey.
Asked if Greece could count on Germany’s support on the issue, Scholz responded: “It is not acceptable for a NATO ally to question another one’s sovereignty.”
He told the paper that good neighbourly relations were “significant not only for the two countries but for Europe as a whole” and that Germany believed that open issues must be resolved through dialogue based on international law.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Alex Richardson)