As it struggles with international lenders to get more money, Greece’s insistence that Germany pay WWII reparations is getting support from some in the world press.
Germany Should Consider War Debt to Greece
Forbes – Marcel Michelson
Greece’s economy is at the brink of an abyss and could pull the entire euro area behind it into the dustbin of history, ending a formidable project of economic cooperation, prosperity and peace in a continent blighted by centuries of wars and plagues, culminating in the horrors of World War Two.
Germany started and lost that war, 70 years ago.
Now, Germany is standing strong and is calling the political shots in Europe – strengthened by its robust economy – to the point of pushing for a prolonged cure of austerity for the anemic European economy.
Repeated calls for “pro growth” stimulus measures – by pausing the state debt reduction programs – by some leaders from France, Italy, Spain or, indeed, Greece are stifled by a comfortable cushion of conservative consent.
Only the European Central Bank has managed to overcome German resistance to implement is expansionary monetary policies as a way of providing breathing space in the economy while the national coffers remain shut….
In that context, the demands for debt leniency by the Greek government of Alexis Tsipras fell on deaf ears. His Syriza party had won the elections of January 2015 on untenable promises and a popular rejection of continued austerity under the supervision of the EU, IMF and ECB.
It is no surprise these electoral commitments could not be kept.
Radical economist Yanis Farouvakis threw gasoline on the fire by alienating his fellow finance ministers with amateur negotiating tactics. Whether his views are right or wrong does not matter, but his approach was not practical.
Greece needs to butter up Germany and like-minded European politicians such as Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, in order to arrive at a compromise.
Recent talks between Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel could bring such a compromise closer.
The decision to withdraw Farouvakis from the European talks, and ask discreet diplomat and fellow economist Euclide Tsakalotos to clear the air, is also a good step. But there remains the war debt bomb.
Greece Lauds German President’s Call for Reparations
A top Greek lawmaker has welcomed the German president’s call for his country to consider World War II redress to Greece as a gesture “of historical significance.”
In an interview with the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, Joachim Gauck said, “It’s the right thing to do for a history-conscious country like ours to consider what possibilities there might be for redress.”
Noting that Gauck’s remarks became known Friday, the anniversary of a 1944 mass execution of Greek resistance fighters by German occupying forces, parliamentary Speaker Zoi Constantopoulou said Gauck’s call was directly related to Greece’s pressure for reparations.
Greece has said its treasury has estimated the German reparations owed from World War II at 278.7 billion euros ($312.1 billion).
Merkel Says Germany Can’t Cut Off Nazi Past
Bloomberg – Anthony Czuczka
Germany has a duty to deal sensitively with the Nazi era, Chancellor Angela Merkel said, citing a debate in Greece about German responsibility for the country’s occupation during World War II.
“One can’t draw the line on history,” Merkel said in her weekly podcast Saturday before the 70th anniversary of the war’s end next week. “We see this in the discussion in Greece and also in other European countries. We Germans do have a special responsibility to deal in an aware, sensitive and knowledgeable way with what we perpetrated under Nazism.”
While voicing understanding for the “long-lasting wounds” caused by the Nazis across Europe, the chancellor declined to address Greek demands for war reparations and said the task facing European governments now is to halt the rise in public debt.
Merkel’s comments reflect her leading role in holding together the 19-nation euro and confronting Russia in the conflict over Ukraine. While there are “deep differences of opinion” with Russia, she said “it’s important” for her to visit Moscow on May 10 to join President Vladimir Putin in honoring soldiers who died in World War II.
Merkel’s government is ruling out further war reparations for Greece, saying the matter was closed by Europe’s acceptance of the treaty that reunified East and West Germany in 1990 at the end of the Cold War.
Germany should nonetheless explore compensation for war crimes committed by German soldiers during World War II, German President Joachim Gauck, whose post is mostly ceremonial, was quoted as saying by Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
“It’s the right thing for a historically aware country like ours to explore which possibilities of compensation there might be,” the newspaper quoted him as saying in an interview in its Saturday edition.
The post World Press View: Greece Demand For German WWII Reparations Backed appeared first on The National Herald.Source: The National Herald