Support to Greece is support to EU: Greek president tells Merkel

Blanche Robertson
January 13, 2019

Greece told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday it had grounds to pursue a legal claim for billions of euros in reparations for the Nazi occupation of the country in World War Two. "And of course we are glad that Greece was able to leave the programs behind", the German leader said on her part.

"That is why it's a lesson for us to do everything to have good relations with Greece, and to lend each other support for the prosperity of both countries".

The issue of past injustices resurfaced during Greece's 2010-2018 economic bailout phase, with Germany targeted for painful cuts imposed by global creditors.

Germany will continue to support Greece in this new stage, she stressed, repeating the remark she made also on Thursday upon her arrival in Athens during the first meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The demands of Greece regarding the reparations for crimes of the "inhuman" Nazi invasion of Greece and the occupational loan issue are "legal" and "legally enforceable", Pavlopoulos told reporters. Pavlopoulos reiterated Athens' demand for reparations in mid-December during the anniversary of the massacre in the Greek village of Kalavryta, where the male population of the village was almost exterminated by the German army in 1943, pointing to the need for compensation for all of Nazi Germany's, in addition to the occupation loan.

Greece and Germany bury the hatchet, but WWII reparations still cast a shadow

"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.

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

Merkel and Tsipras have met many times over the past few years, but this is the German chancellor's first visit to Athens since Tsipras became prime minister in January 2015 following a fiercely anti-bailout and anti-Merkel campaign.

She is expected to show support for a name change for Greece's neighbour Macedonia, which is still a divisive issue in Greece.

Israel fires missiles over Damascus: Syria
An AFP correspondent in Damascus heard several loud explosions late on Friday, the global news agency said. An Israeli official said the air force had attacked several Iranian targets in three main locations.

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