Wednesday August 27, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
24o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Germany offers fund to defuse Greek war reparation claims

By Harry Papachristou

German President Joachim Gauck dismissed Greek demands for compensation for Nazi-era crimes during a symbolic visit to Greece on Thursday, and instead offered to set up a new fund to remind Germans of their past.

World War Two reparations have resurfaced as an emotional issue in Greece, where many blame Germany, their biggest creditor, for painful austerity and record unemployment associated with two international bailouts.

Acting under opposition and media pressure, the Greek government revived last year a long-dormant quest for war reparations but has not adopted claims raised by some parties and war-victim groups putting the bill at 162 billion euros, about half Greece's total government debt.

Gauck acknowledged on Thursday that Germany carried a "moral debt" for dozens of massacres committed by Nazi soldiers in anti-guerrilla reprisals during the war, but reiterated that Berlin was not willing to discuss reparations.

"I believe the legal way for it is closed," he said during a joint appearance with 84-year-old Greek President Karolos Papoulias, a former wartime resistance member who said the two states should start talks on the issue "as soon as possible."

Gauck said Germany would instead set up a new "Future Fund" to foster the memory of Nazi war crimes in Greece.

"It will dispose substantial sums to make Germans confront that part of their past," he said without offering details on the fund's size or purpose.

Germany denies owing anything to Greece for World War Two after the 115 million deutsche marks it paid in 1960, one of 12 war compensation agreements it signed with Western nations.

But Athens has said it always considered that money as only an initial payment, with the rest of its claims to be discussed after German reunification, which eventually came in 1990.

Several experts and historians regard the claims put forward by Greek opposition and lobby groups as unfounded or overblown.

Greece's fragile coalition government - which is eager to repair often fraught relations with Germany - accepts the claims must be pursued but refuses opposition calls to use them as a bargaining chip in the debt-laden country's bailout talks.

Athens has still not decided on the diplomatic way in which it will pursue the claims, deputy Foreign Minister Akis Gerontopoulos told parliament, responding to opposition charges that the government was dragging its feet over the issue to avoid angering the Germans.

"We will not give up anything we are entitled to," Gerontopoulos said. [Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Thursday March 6, 2014 (15:54)  
Greek pop idol Michalis Hatziyiannis detained over suspect car theft report
Prolific swindler netted by Thessaloniki police
Nearly 2,000 Europe-bound migrants have drowned this year, UN says
Detained GD deputies granted permission to attend swearing in ceremonies
Greek stocks rise for seventh day, but only just
The Athens stock exchange general index rose but by the tiniest of margins for a seventh straight day on Wednesday as it hit 1,177.49 points, an increase of 0.01 percent. The benchmark f...
Ryanair to submit bid for Cyprus Airways
Ryanair Holdings Plc will submit a non-binding offer for Cyprus Airways on Friday as Europes No. 1 discount carrier seeks to extend its footprint eastward to an island increasingly popular ...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Ranieri brings in new faces for his first Greece squad
New Greece coach Claudio Ranieri announced Wednesday a 24-man squad for the first Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania at home on September 7. Earning a first time call up were Olympiakos 21-...
SOCCER
Roma signs Greece defender Manolas from Olympiakos for 13 mln
Greece international Kostas Manolas has joined Roma on a 13 million ($17 million) transfer from Olympiakos, as coach Rudi Garcia looks to strengthen his worrisome defense before Serie A sta...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Diplomacy, not dogmatism
A friend who moves comfortably within the circles of the European establishment recently described a particularly interesting experience when he found himself in a discussion behind closed d...
EDITORIAL
Preachers of hatred
Engaging in public dialogue regarding whether the anti-racism bill is mandatory and sensible is both legitimate and necessary at this current point in time. In the meantime, however, regardl...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Greek stocks rise for seventh day, but only just
2. Greek pop idol Michalis Hatziyiannis detained over suspect car theft report
3. Prolific swindler netted by Thessaloniki police
4. Ranieri brings in new faces for his first Greece squad
5. Nearly 2,000 Europe-bound migrants have drowned this year, UN says
6. Detained GD deputies granted permission to attend swearing in ceremonies
more news
Today
This Week
1. ND gains one deputy as ousted MP sworn in Lamia mayor
2. Draghi soothes bond market after summer of strife
3. Venizelos hails Gaza ceasefire
4. ND honorary president taken to hospital
5. Ryanair to submit bid for Cyprus Airways
6. Bishop Vartholomaios of Megara and Salamina dies
Today
This Week
1. Carved sphinxes at Ancient Amphipolis tomb will not be removed
2. Brussels warns Greece over plans to allow construction near Korinos beach
3. Logged out of reality
4. Merkel cites euros construction flaws as economy sputters
5. Second man held over double murder in Mani
6. Attack on gay couple in Athens leaves one man needing surgery
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.