Berlin may offer compromise to Greek reparation claims

Germany’s Minister for European Affairs said Thursday Berlin may increase its contribution to a German-Greek fund, potentially paving the way for a compromise to Athens demanding World War II reparations.

The so-called Future Fund was launched in 2014 with a yearly budget of one million euros ($1.06 million), earmarked for socio-economic projects promoting the reconciliation between the two nations.

“If our offer is met with sufficient interest by Greece, I am open to a readjustment of the fund,” Michael Roth of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) told the Handelsblatt daily.

His comments echo those of conservative politician Rudolf Kiesetter — a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) — who has also suggested increasing the Future Fund.

Although Germany has repeatedly rejected reparation demands, several members of the Green Party have sided with Greece and called for the creation of a fund for Greek victims of Nazi crimes.

In early February, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his country had a “moral obligation” to claim payment from Germany for atrocities committed by the Nazis during their four years of occupation, and for a forced wartime loan of 11 million euros.

A working group set up by the Greek government estimated that the total amount due in reparations was 162 billion euros — almost half of Athens’ debt.

Responding to Tsipras, Germany’s economy minister insisted that a line had been drawn under “all these issues” in legal terms when the two former Germanys signed a treaty with the Allies in 1990, which is considered the formal end of World War II.


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