[Ed. – If Greece’s new prime minister were center-right, the same German lawmakers would think shame on anyone who wanted to pay reparations as a way of adjusting Greek debt. That said, the whole thing is a pointless drill. What Greece needs is a release from EU regulatory burdens. A hard-lefty like Tsipras won’t know what to do with that, but the freedom to produce, under economic conditions that may not meet ideology-based EU standards, is the only thing that will put Greece on a sustainable path. Breaking euro is probably the best thing for our Greek brethren, in the end.]
Several senior Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens in Germany have for the first time said their nation should consider paying reparations to Greece for Nazi crimes committed during the second world war, breaking ranks with Angela Merkel’s government.
Relations between Germany and Greece have deteriorated as Athens tries to renegotiate its bailout terms and Berlin fears it will ditch previously agreed financial promises.
The Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, who is due to meet Merkel in Berlin on Monday, has accused Germany of using tricks to avoid paying reparations. One of his ministers raised the prospect of seizing German property to compensate victims of a Nazi massacre.
While Berlin says it has honoured its obligations, including a DM115m payment to Greece in 1960 (around £45m at the time), some mainstream German politicians have gone against government policy and said it was impossible to draw a line under the highly charged issue.
“We should make a financial approach to victims and their families,” said Gesine Schwan, a respected member of the Social Democrat party (SPD), who share power with Merkel’s conservatives.