The spokesperson for the German Ministry of Finance, Martin Jager, during a public appearance yesterday ruled out the possibility of a Greek debt haircut. While commenting on scenarios on an electoral win of Greek main opposition party, SYRIZA, he underlined that the result of the Greek elections of January 25 will not “change anything in relation to the agreed reforms with the government and the next government of Greece must continue to implement the agreed reforms.” Furthermore, the German Official when asked to comment on Greek press reports regarding the conclusions of the Greek General Accounting Office special committee on Germany’s debt towards Greece, emerging from the occupation forced loan, he underlined that his country owes no wartime restitution to Greece.
Answering to questions on a matter that topped the Greek press headlines the previous days, Mr. Jager said that there has been no such request from Athens therefore the Greek war reparations demands have already been settled. “No Greek request has been submitted on the issue. Almost 70 years after the war’s end the question of reparations has lost its legitimacy. We do not see any basis to such a request,” the representative of German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble added, clarifying that this is the answer of his country’s ministry, which also includes a legal dimension, namely the 1960 Convention.
By this, he highlighted, the demands were finally settled, while no such issue was raised when the so-called “Treaty of 2 + 4” (Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany) for the reunification of Germany in 1990. By signing the treaty the four powers which occupied Germany at the end of World War II (USSR, USA, United Kingdom and France) renounced all rights they held in Germany, allowing a united Germany to become fully sovereign the following year. In the treaty’s text no reference to war reparations was made, Mr. Jager underlined adding that it was recognized as a legal commitment within the framework of the Paris Charter, also adopted by Greece. “Thus we regard that there is no basis for such demands,” he concluded.
It should be noted, that a new official Greek report, handed to the Finance Ministry last week, estimates that Germany owes the amount of 11 billion euros to Greece, solely due to the forced occupation loan taken by the Nazis during the World War. The loan was signed in 1942 and ever since it remains unpaid.
According to Greek Sunday newspaper “To Vima,” the secret report has been delivered to the country’s General Accounting Office and Deputy Finance Minister, Christos Staikouras, after three months of thorough research and work undertaken by a special committee, chaired by the former General Director of the Greek Treasury, Panagiotis Karakousis. The Greek press reacted with disappointment to the announcement of the sum, as it is considered to be very low, compared to the damage the forced loan caused to the country. Finally, Mr. Karakousis stated that this amount has nothing to do with the war reparations for the damages Greece suffered under the German occupation of 1941-1944, which could reach tens of billions of euros.