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Tsipras Demands WWII Reparations from Germany

© REUTERS / Kostas TsironisGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras waves to lawmakers following his first major speech in parliament in Athens.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras waves to lawmakers following his first major speech in parliament in Athens. - Sputnik International
Greek Prime Minister believes Germany owes his country money as a result of the Third Reich.

People make their way in central Syntagma Square as the parliament building is pictured in the background in Athens - Sputnik International
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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras set out his government's legislative program in his first major speech to the Greek parliament on Sunday, which he used to maintain his administration's rejection of the country's bailout terms, and claim that in fact Germany owes his country billions of Euros in war reparations.

Greece has "a moral obligation to our people, to history, to all European peoples who fought and gave their blood against Nazism", to demand Germany pay back a loan which the Nazis forced from the Greek central bank during the war, as well as war reparations, the media reports Tsipras said in his speech.

Last year Syriza announced it had "precisely calculated" using data from the Bank of Greece that Germany, the country's biggest creditor, owes Greece €162 billion without interest as a result of the loan imposed by the Third Reich.

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Germany has already rejected any prospective demand from Greece for reparations, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble telling the Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung in 2013 that he considers such statements to be "irresponsible," and that "much more important than misleading people with such stories would be to explain and spell out the reform path."

In Berlin on Thursday, Schäuble held a joint press conference with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis at which the latter made reference to the rise of the Nazis in Germany and warned of the dangers of fascism in his country if Greek society continues to face the pressures of austerity. Varoufakis had already in a TV interview shortly before the meeting compared Greece's situation with that of Weimar Germany and the rise of Hitler.

"When I return home tonight," said Varoufakis on Thursday after his meeting with Schäuble, "I shall find myself in a parliament in which the third-largest party is not a neo-Nazi party, it is a Nazi party," referring to the Golden Dawn party.  "Germany must be proud of the fact that Nazism has been eradicated here," he also remarked.

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As well as the demands for reparations, Tsipras on Sunday defiantly told parliament that his government would not deviate from a pre-election manifesto which promised to roll back the reforms imposed under the terms of the €240 billion bailout his country received from the IMF and EU. Declaring that the priority of his government is to tackle the "wounds" and "humanitarian crisis" inflicted by the bailout, he indicated that instead of further bailout money, his country is seeking a bridging loan while it renegotiates the burden with creditors.

Greece currently owes more than €320 billion to lenders (approximately €29,000 per capita), with the majority of the debt held by the IMF, ECB and countries of the European Union. Syriza wants more than half the debt to be cancelled, a demand which has been rejected by creditors and the "Troika" of representatives overseeing the bailout. Last month Varoufakis declared that Greece would refuse to engage in further negotiations with the Troika team from the EU and IMF, and instead wants to negotiate directly with the individual institutions and countries to which it owes money.

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