Image Hosted by
FACTDROP: Greece Names Nazi Reparations Panel


Greece Names Nazi Reparations Panel

Πηγή: New York Times
Sept 11 2012

ATHENS — The Greek government has appointed a panel to determine whether Germany might still owe Greece money in reparations for Nazi war crimes, a move that indicates the extent to which the shaky coalition government in Athens is trying to appease lawmakers from the extreme right and left.

Christos Staikouras, a deputy finance minister, on Monday signed a decision appointing four members of the State Audit Council to scour historical archives “in relation to German reparations” and to issue a verdict by year-end.

The move comes as the so-called troika of Greece’s foreign creditors are scrutinizing the government’s books to determine whether the country will receive the next installment of rescue loans it needs to stay solvent.

Part of the challenge for the coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is to get his two restive coalition partners to approve a package of austerity measures worth €11.5 billion, or about $15 billion, that the foreign creditors are demanding, and appease vehement opposition to the measures from the other parties in Parliament.

The issue of reparations is a longstanding one for Greece, where thousands died at the hands of Nazi troops. Recently, it has been broached by lawmakers from parties of the ascendant far right and extreme left, which made big gains in the June general elections after campaigning on anti-austerity platforms.

Last week, Notis Marias, a member of Parliament from the right wing party Independent Greeks, declared, “Greece is borrowing from its debtors, at a time that the government is planning a social assault on our people.”

Mr. Staikouras responded that the inquiry would be handled with a “realistic and cool-headed approach.” At the Paris Peace Conference of 1946, he said, it was agreed that the amount due in reparations was $7.5 billion — for damages and for loans the country was forced to make to Germany — of which only about $100 million has been paid.

But it remains unclear what the legal basis for Greece’s claim may be. In April, German officials said Germany had already paid reparations as part of a 1946 agreement and that the matter was closed. And in February, the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, ruled that Germany had legal immunity from being sued in foreign courts by victims of World War II atrocities.

Even if there is a legitimate basis for the Greek claims, some say reparations will not be paid, as the initiative is for domestic consumption. It could also be a risky gamble at a time when Greece is more dependent than ever on the goodwill of its European partners.

“It’s a very clumsy move, probably the clumsiest since the crisis broke,” said Takis Michas, an analyst.

He added that the initiative would simply “annoy Germany and suggest that Greece is not willing to push reforms.”

No comments:

Post a Comment