ATHENS, Greece – Greece’s prime minister said Wednesday his government “promptly” will formally revive a long-standing demand for Germany to pay vast reparations for the World War II Nazi occupation.
Alexis Tsipras said that now Greece has exited its bailout programs, in which Germany was a key creditor, it can’t be accused of trying to offset its massive debt with the reparation demand.
He told a special parliamentary session that Athens will make use of European and international law to back its demand, which Germany has repeatedly rejected.
“We will await the German government’s response,” Tsipras said. “But whatever that response is, this time we must not allow the issue to lie dormant … this time we will insist.”
He added that “our main aim is to agree with Germany to start a dialogue as equal partners, as friends and allies.”
A Greek cross-party parliamentary committee in 2016 set the country’s claims from Germany at a minimum 292 billion euros for WWII, with an additional 9.2 billion euros for World War I. A different estimate in the same report set the total at close to 400 billion euros.
The sum for WWII includes reparations for material damage and human suffering and a forced loan exacted by Germany during the 1940-44 occupation. The parliamentary committee calculated the sum due for the loan at about 10 billion euros.
Parliament later Wednesday voted by a broad majority in favor of a motion for Greece to act on the committee’s findings.
In Berlin, government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Germany’s position on the matter has not changed.
“And this position is that the question of German reparations has been conclusively settled in legal and political terms,” he told reporters ahead of the Greek parliamentary session.
“We know . how much suffering Germany and Germans caused Greece in the time of Nazism,” he said. “The lesson that we draw from this is to do everything so that Germany and Greece have good relations as friends and partners, and so that they support each other for the good of both countries.”
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