German Finance Minister, who has been picking fun of Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, said, however, he didn’t call his counterpart naive, but Greece isn’t happy.
Here’s a look at what some of the world press reports say, including related stories about growing Greek-German tension:
Greece Complains About Schaeuble’s “Naïve” Comment
Greek media quoted Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble as calling Greece’s Yanis Varoufakis “foolishly naïve” in his dealings with the media following EU discussions in Brussels on Wednesday.
The allegation compounds the bad feelings between the two European nations, already strained over Greece’s international loans program.
A spokesman for the Greek Foreign Ministry, Constantinos Koutras, confirmed that a complaint was made to the German Foreign Ministry on Tuesday night concerning the alleged remarks.
“As a minister of a country that is our friend and our ally, he cannot personally insult a colleague,” Koutras said, but did not go into further detail.
Other foreign media at the talks did not report the comment.
The discussions in Brussels took place between technical experts from Greece and representatives from the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said a joint effort was needed to ensure the talks’ success.
“It’s very important that these (…) talks can be held in a calm and unpolitical atmosphere, so that work gets done,” she said.
Greece’s government has worked hard to distance itself from the trio of institutions, formerly referred to as the “troika.”
Germany-Greece Row Heats Up, Schaeuble Denies Insulting Varoufakis
German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has described as “nonsense” accusations that he insulted his Greek counterpart Yanis Varoufakis with comments that he was “foolishly naive”.
Responding after Athens sent its ambassador to demand an apology from Berlin, Schäuble told Reuters: “No I haven’t insulted my Greek counterpart, that is nonsense.”
Greece had lodged its complaint with the German foreign office on Tuesday night, following Schäuble’s comments after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Monday. The conservative German minister had been referring to Varoufakis’s dealings with the media.
Constantinos Koutras, a Greek foreign ministry spokesman, said: “There was an official complaint from our ambassador in Berlin to the German Foreign Ministry on Tuesday night. It was a complaint after what he [Schäuble] said about Mr Varoufakis. As a minister of a country that is our friend and our ally, he cannot personally insult a colleague,” he said.
Relations between Germany and Greece have deteriorated since the radical left Syriza-led government in Athens, which was elected in January, used terms such as waterboarding to describe the austerity policies demanded by Brussels.
Syriza has also attacked oversight of the Greek government by a troika of officials from the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB).
Germany’s central bank chief, Jens Weidmann, also a policymaker at the ECB, heightened tensions with a speech in Frankfurt that emphasised the loss of trust between between Greece and eurozone governments, which are being asked to extend the terms of Greek loans and ease austerity.
Weidmann said the eurozone’s central banks should ensure Greece’s banks do not worsen their liquidity position by buying up Greek government debt for which there is still no market.
Greece Threatens to Seize German Assets
The Washington Post – Adam Taylor
Greek Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos said he was ready to allow the Greek government to seize German state-owned property to compensate the families of 218 Greeks killed during World War II. “I’m ready to sign,” Paraskevopoulos said during an interview on Mega TV, according to the news agency Reuters, referring to a 2000 ruling that would allow him the confiscation.
Asked when this might happen, Paraskevopoulos gave an ominous reply: “When the political time has matured.”
The decision behind that timing lies with Greece’s controversial leader, Alexis Tsipras. The young prime minister and Syriza, the leftist party he leads, were swept into power early this year on their promises to renegotiate the terms of Greek’s crippling $300 billion-plus debt. To do that, Tsipras will have to get the leaders of Europe’s major economies — most notably the pro-austerity Germany — to agree to better terms …
Tsipras had campaigned for more than a year on the issue of World War II reparations from Germany, and the issue had long been a fixture in Greek politics.
According to one 2013 study, conducted by the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Germany would owe Greece about $200 billion for the damage inflicted during the Nazi occupation.
Germany has repeatedly claimed that the issue was settled in 1990, during the talks that eventually led to German reunification, and refuses to discuss any new payments.
Germany had previously paid the Greeks the equivalent of about $60 million in compensation for wartime actions as part of a 1960 accord, but Tsipras has said that this figure is only for individuals and did not address the structural damage caused by the Nazis.
There’s certainly no doubt that it was a terrible time for the Greeks — brutal reprisal attacks committed by the occupying forces were common, and experts now say that as many as 300,000 Greeks starved to death during the period.
The case Paraskevopoulos specifically refers to is notably horrific: In 1944, Nazi troops went door to door killing families in the village of Distomo in retaliation for a partisan attack. Hundreds were killed. According to survivors, even babies and pregnant women were not spared.Source: The National Herald