Foreign Ministry makes report on WWII claims a priority

The new head of the Legal Council of the State, who is due to be appointed soon, will be told that his or her priority will be to deliver a report on Greece’s claim for World War II reparations from Germany, a Foreign Ministry official said on Friday.

Responding to a question from an Independent Greeks MP, Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Kourkoulas said that the panel of experts already investigating the matter was working with the State’s Legal Council and that the process would speed up after the appointment of a new president.

“There is still an outstanding issue and we always reserve the right and ability to conclude the matter satisfactorily,” said Kourkoulas. “Greece never gave up its claims.”

Kourkoulas said that Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, who took up the post in last month’s reshuffle, raised the matter of reparations at recent talks with his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle, in Athens. Speaking to Kathimerini while in Greece, Westerwelle insisted that Germany did not have any outstanding obligations.

“We need to distinguish the historical and moral responsibility from legal obligations,” he said. “These have been fully abided by on Germany’s part.”

Apart from compensation for damages suffered during the Nazi occupation, Greece is also investigating whether Germany is obliged to repay a loan the Bank of Greece was forced to provide to Berlin during the war.

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