The long standing dispute regarding Germany’s war reparations toward Greece have once again topped news headlines in both countries, amid a “cold” period in their relations. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has once again ruled out the possibility of a retreat from what Berlin has already officially said on the matter. As he explained in an interview to Austrian newspaper Der Standard, in which he also commented on the Greek program, the issue has been settled decades ago.
At the same time, Spiegel became the first German publication to propose that World War II reparations should be paid to Greece in order to close the matter and subtract an argument from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ negotiations quiver. The article noted that such a move would be politically and morally correct, and added that this will also reduce the arguments of the Greek side. “Alexis Tsipras has threatened with confiscation of German property in Greek territory,” the article reminded, regarding Greek media reports on the matter, which said that this would be the Greek government’s “plan b,” while adding that Defense Minister Panos Kammenos has argued that the war reparations payment would be a good solution for today’s debt crisis. “Seventy years after the war ended and while there has been a large transfer of funds through the European Union, this is not honest,” Spiegel noted, blaming the German government for helping the Greek criticism when appearing unwilling to discuss the matter and repeated that it has already been settled.
Nazi victims’ relatives not seeking seizure of German property
On their behalf, the families of WWII Nazi crime victims stand against the seizure of German property located in Greece. According to their law representatives, they have no intention of enforcing a 2000 court decision greenlighting confiscation of German state property, such as the Goethe Institute, to recover damages. This is seen as a response to Greek Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos’ statements earlier this week that he is ready to sign the Supreme Court decision, paving the way for confiscations. As Greek newspaper “Kathimerini” reported, lawyers handling the claims of relatives of the 218 Greeks slaughtered by the Nazi occupation forces in June 1944 at the village of Distomo said they have “no intention of seeking the enforcement of the decision for the Goethe Institute or other property owned by the German state.” The lawyers, however, said that Paraskevopoulos’ statement was a “very powerful political tool” in the relatives’ efforts to negotiate a compensation deal with German authorities.