Monday, 22 July, 2019

Germany's Merkel Praises Greece, But Calls for Continuation of Reforms

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pays tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens German Chancellor Angela Merkel pays tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens
Deanna Wagner | 13 January, 2019, 13:44

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras she hoped both countries would "lend each other support" for their common prosperity.

"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. "And of course we are glad that Greece was able to leave the programs behind", the German leader said on her part.

"It establishes clarity for us all", Merkel said.

Germany's support to Greece during the hard bailout period from 2010 until August 2018, as well as in the post-bailout era, is support to the EU's cohesion, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said on Friday, welcoming German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Athens.

While speaking at a joint press conference with Merkel in Athens on Friday, Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos stated the country has grounds to pursue a legal claim for billions of euros in reparations for the WWII crimes committed by the Nazis.

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World War Two reparations resurfaced as an emotional issue during Greece's 2010-18 period of bailouts when austerity-hit Greeks, evoking past injustices, blamed their biggest creditor Germany for painful cuts associated with three worldwide bailouts.

Protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration against the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Athens on January 10, 2019.

During her first visit to Greece in 2014, Merkel faced major protests and sought to ease tensions with Athens where Berlin was often blamed for biting austerity and bailouts. The opposition conservative New Democracy party also opposes the deal, with about 70 percent of Greek public opinion concurring.

The leaders are likely to discuss the still thorny issue of an impending name change for Greece's neighbour Macedonia.

In the past, a report by Greek national accounting put the value of reparations owed by Germany for the occupation that lasted from 1941 to 1944, and for a forced loan imposed on Athens in 1942, at 162 billion euros.