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Angela Merkel will face protests during Greek visit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Greece next week to discus keeping the country in the eurozone. Large displays against her are expected. Many Greeks blame Merkel's austerity measures for their nation's troubles.

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The trip is a sign of German solidarity, a message to the Greek leadership and people that Berlin does not want to cut them loose, and a signal to the members of Merkel's coalition who want Greece out that it's not going to happen soon.

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At the same time, the trip shows Merkel's trust in Samaras. Aides to the chancellor say they have been positively surprised by his commitment to reform. One reason for not visiting Greece before was frustration with progress under his predecessors, technocrat Lucas Papademos and Socialist George Papandreou.

"In our view Samaras is really trying to get things done," one German official said, requesting anonymity. "Nobody should see this trip as a sign that all is perfect. But we recognise things are moving in the right direction."

The Greek government was ecstatic about the news, promising to treat Merkel with the honours befitting the leader of a great nation. Greek officials credited Samaras's charm offensive in Berlin in August for Germany's change of heart.

"Samaras showed a real will to change things. He stressed what Greece had to do, not what others had to do forGreece," a Greek government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Merkel is scheduled to meet Samaras, President Karolos Papoulias and representatives of Greek industry.

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