Germany: Greek repatriation demand is 'stupid'

Sigmar Gabriel, who is economy minister and German vice chancellor, called the demand for repatriation "stupid", saying Greece was squeezing a bit of leeway out of its euro zone partners to help Athens overcome its debt crisis.

Germany: Greek repatriation demand is 'stupid'

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Germany's economy minister branded Greece's demand for 278.7 billion euros in reparations from World War Two as "stupid" on Tuesday, while the German opposition said Berlin should repay a forced loan dating from the Nazi occupation.

Greek Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas made the demand on Monday, seizing on an emotional issue in a country where many blame Germany, their biggest creditor, for the tough austerity measures and record high unemployment connected with two international bailouts totalling 240 billion euros.

"And this leeway has absolutely nothing to do with World War Two or reparation payments," said Gabriel, who leads the Social Democrats (SPD), junior partner in the ruling coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

Berlin is keen to draw a line under the reparations issue and officials have previously argued that Germany has honoured its obligations, including a 115-million deutsche mark payment made to Greece in 1960.

A spokeswoman for the finance ministry said on Tuesday that the government's position was unchanged.

Eckhardt Rehberg, a budget expert for the conservatives, accused Athens of deliberately mixing the debt crisis and reform requirements imposed by Greece's international creditors with the issue of reparations and compensation.

"For me the figure of 278.7 billion euros of supposed war debts is neither comprehensible nor sound," he told Reuters.

"The issue of reparations has, for us, been dealt with both from a political and a legal perspective."

Last Mod: 07 Nisan 2015, 18:40
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