German slap in the face for Greece over war debt

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The German government was quick to respond to the war debt issue raised by Greece, saying the matter is closed.

“The issue of German reparations is definitively, legally and politically closed,” said German government spokesman Stephen Seibert on Friday, responding to recent statements by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who raised the issue.

The German response comes after recent statements by the Greek Prime Minister, prompted by a recent Greek cross-party parliamentary report which suggested Greece had a case and should consider taking legal action and pursue compensation.

Opposition party New Democracy rebuked Germany’s response suggesting that Greece’s claim is still valid irrespective of time.

“Greece’s claims particularly on the forced loan but also war reparations are active and strong. They cannot be statute barred. Neither morally, nor politically or legally,” said New Democracy spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos.

“There is, therefore, legal room, the political and moral obligation, for an assertive strategy. But it has to be responsible - well prepared, so that it will be effective … and of course must not be linked to the current economic crisis. This would trivialize the national claim.”

As previously reported in Greek City Times, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had set up a cross-party parliamentary committee to investigate the issue of compensation payments linked to German occupation between 1941 and 1944. The main recommendation from the report is that Greece should consider diplomacy first but could pursue legal action to claim the estimated 279 billion euros in compensation if that fails.

“The repercussions of WWII for Greece and its citizens were tremendous and irreversible because the country experienced a premeditated and unprovoked attack as well as the barbarous occupation by the forces of the German Nazis, of the fascist Italy and Tsar’s Bulgaria. This triple occupation led the Greek people to extreme poverty because it destroyed the country’s economy. This finding is easily documented by the existing official state material and is justified by a large number of strong and undeniable testimonies and by a plethora of historical sources” says the parliament’s committee report.

“Crimes against humanity do not expire. Justice must be done,’’ added the Committee’s Chairman Triantafyllou Mitafidis.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.