Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Merkel says Germany recognizes responsibility for Nazi crimes in Greece

Protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration against the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Athens Greece and Germany bury the hatchet, but WWII reparations still cast a shadow
Kenny Thornton | 13 January, 2019, 13:45

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering visiting Japan from February 4 to 5 to hold talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, informed sources said.

"We are against and we demand that our country be liberated from the shackles of the European Union and the debt load", Nikos Adamopoulos, one of the leftist protesters, told Xinhua.The German leader is scheduled to hold a meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and main opposition New Democracy party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday before departing from Athens.

Relations between Greece and Germany have calmed since her previous visits in 2012 and 2014, which were overshadowed by angry anti-austerity rallies. She said that Germany takes responsibility for Nazi crimes in Greece, Reuters reported.

In a televised exchange with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday thanked her supporting Greece's efforts to exit its global bailouts and addressing the refugee crisis, Kathimerini reported."Greeks made many sacrifices, even for mistakes that could not be attributed to them and I am glad you acknowledged this", Pavlopoulos said.He also praised Merkel for her response to the refuguee crisis, saying it "boosted your profile as a European leader and the cohesion of Europe".

Tensions linger over wartime reparations for the Nazis' World War II occupation of Greece with Berlin arguing the issue was settled in 1960 in a deal with several European governments.

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"I'm particularly happy to see that the situation has changed so much, unemployment has fallen", Ms. Merkel said after a meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens.

Germany has apologised for Nazi-era crimes during the war but has said it is not willing to discuss reparations.

This time, Merkel backed Tsipras's efforts to resolve a name dispute with Greece's northern neighbor, the Republic of Macedonia, which could clear that country's path to joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Runaway inflation followed, and tens of thousands of people starved to death.

In the past, a report by Greek national accounting put the value of reparations owed by Germany for the occupation that lasted from 1941 to 1944, and for a forced loan imposed on Athens in 1942, at 162 billion euros.

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