Greece to push claim for German war reparations: foreign minister

ATHENS Wed Apr 24, 2013 6:51am EDT

Greece's Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos takes part in a news conference with his Canadian counterpart John Baird (not pictured) at the Lester B. Pearson Building in Ottawa February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Greece's Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos takes part in a news conference with his Canadian counterpart John Baird (not pictured) at the Lester B. Pearson Building in Ottawa February 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Chris Wattie

Related Topics

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece is planning to pursue a long-dormant claim for reparations from Germany over World War Two, a further strain on relations with Berlin, which foots most of the bill for its 240-billion euro rescue.

The Finance Ministry has compiled a report that takes stock of all relating available documents spanning more than six decades, Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos told parliament on Wednesday.

It will be submitted to Greece's legal advisers and then Athens will decide how to officially press its claim, he said.

Avramopoulos did not say how much would be sought.

"We will exhaust every means available to arrive to a result," he told lawmakers. "One can't compare the times, but also not erase the memories."

Germany, whose forces occupied Greece in World War Two, says it has already paid all reparations owed.

The issue has resurfaced since last year as Greece suffers under austerity measures imposed on it by its creditors, mainly Germany, as a condition for its international EU/IMF bailout.

Avramopoulos said it was wrong to link the issue to the debt crisis.

"This has been an open issue for 60 years, it is too large an issue to fit into the confines of the fiscal crisis," he said.

Greece's fragile coalition government has so far earned praise from Chancellor Angela Merkel for starting to fix Greece's finances.

But conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was pushed to raise the reparation issue by the main opposition, anti-bailout Syriza party.

(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (10)
Binary wrote:
Ahhh, when you have nothing left to sell, try marketing guilt.

Apr 24, 2013 7:03am EDT  --  Report as abuse
falkon13 wrote:
Rules are Rules. The Merkel and Soible love this quote. Well, rules are rules, and its not war reparations. Get your facts strait. Greece is claiming against a loan provided to the 4th reich by force, which was acknowledged as a debt by Gerhardt Shroder in 1968 when he was foreign minister.

repeat, not war reparations, but the repayment of a loan with all supporting legal documents, plus the German acknowledgment of existence of this debt.

So, Rules are Rules, Pay up and Shut up. No two ways around it. And if you want some more fun, take us to the international tribunal, so you can pay our lawyers bill also, cause this is a ROCK SOLID CASE under any jurisdiction.

guess you can say every dog has his day, and what a day worth over 200 billion…

Apr 24, 2013 7:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
GLe wrote:
Please, tell that to my wife’s father who had his father and most of his schoolmates and relatives executed at Kalavryta (1943). I know, I wasn’t even born in 1943, neither did most of the readers of this. That changes nothing. There are claims that don’t expire like the forced debt extracted from Greece. Such claims could not have been sought after before the German unification in 1990, according to the 1953 London Debt Agreement. Is now the time? We shall see.

Apr 24, 2013 7:36am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.