Millennium Post

Greece demands reparations for World War II; Germany says ‘no’

Germany’s economy minister on Monday rejected calls by Greece’s new prime minister for Berlin to pay reparations for World War II damages by the Nazis, insisting the issue was concluded 25 years ago. “The likelihood is zero,” Sigmar Gabriel, who is also Germany’s vice-chancellor, said at a gathering of his Social Democrats in Brandenburg state near Berlin. He was responding to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who said in parliament that his country had a “moral obligation” to claim payment from Germany for a forced wartime loan and other reparations.

Berlin rejects such requests nearly 70 years after the end of the war, during which the Nazis occupied Greece for four years and forced the Greek central bank to give the Third Reich a loan that financially ruined the country. Figures from some sources in Athens put the amount still owed by Germany at around $183 billion, or more than half the level of debt that Greece is currently struggling with.

Gabriel said that a line had been drawn under “all these issues” in legal terms, “at the latest” when the two former Germanys signed a treaty with the Allies in 1990, which is considered the formal end of World War II. “There’s no sense continuing down this road,” he added.

A finance ministry spokeswoman told reporters on Monday that there was nothing new to add from the German side on the issue.  Meanwhile, ministers and central bankers from the world’s top 20 economies gathered in Istanbul on Monday to discuss solutions to the debt crisis in Greece and ways to push forward faltering global growth.

Turkey is hosting the G20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs for the first time as it holds the rotating presidency of the elite global club. An emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers is scheduled for Wednesday.
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