Reuters Tuesday 7 April 2015
Athens officially quantifies sum which includes repayment of forced loan and return of archaeological treasures
Alexis Tsipras delivers a speech to parliament in Athens on 6 April; the previous week the Greek prime minister had set up a panel to start work on the German debt claim. Photograph: Alexandros Vlachos/EPA
Greece’s deputy finance minister has said that Germany owes it nearly €279bn (£205bn) in reparations for the Nazi occupation of the country.
Greek governments and private citizens have pushed for war damages from Germany for decades but the Greek government has never officially quantified its reparation claims.
A parliamentary panel set up by Alexis Tsipras’s government started work last week, seeking to claim German debts, including war reparations, the repayment of a so-called occupation loan that Nazi Germany forced the Bank of Greece to make and the return of stolen archaeological treasures.
Speaking at a parliamentary committee on Monday, the deputy finance minister, Dimitris Mardas, said Berlin owed Athens €278.7bn, according to calculations by the country’s general accounting office. The occupation loan amounts to €10.3bn.
Alexis Tspiras, the Greek prime minister, says Berlin has ‘a moral obligation’ to make amends for years of Nazi occupation
The campaign for compensation has gained momentum in the past few years as the Greeks have suffered hardship under austerity measures imposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund in exchange for bailouts totalling €240bn to save Greece from bankruptcy.
Tsipras has frequently blamed Germany for the hardship stemming from the imposition of austerity. The Greek prime minister has angered Berlin by threatening to push for reparations in the middle of talks to unlock aid for Greece.
Germany has repeatedly rejected the country’s claims and says it has honoured its obligations, including a 115m deutschmark payment to Greece in 1960.