Nothing Personal as Merkel, Renzi Tighten Vise on Tsipras

Angela Merkel said she isn’t taking Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s referendum plans personally.

Asked whether she and Tsipras are still on speaking terms after he upended talks on Greece’s financial lifeline by calling a national vote on austerity, the German chancellor said the two had talked several times in the last few days.

“Our personal relationship has not been damaged at all,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday. “We can talk to each other anytime and have done so recently.”

As the standoff between Greece and its creditors unfolded, the two leaders have been thrown together in several late-night negotiating sessions, including three-way talks with French President Francois Hollande at European Union summits in Brussels and Riga, Latvia. During Tsipras’s first visit to Berlin as prime minister in March, he and Merkel talked for hours about possible policy steps to unlock bailout money, a person familiar with the discussions said at the time.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, standing alongside Merkel at the news conference after they met in Berlin, said the important thing is to keep talking.

“I even posed for a photo while hugging Alexis and Angela” at last week’s EU summit, Renzi said. “I guess that didn’t work out. The key point is that when we have different views, we need to discuss that, but eventually have to reach a common position.”

For more, read this QuickTake: Angela Merkel

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
LEARN MORE