Merkel snubs Gauck's call for new approach on Greece
German President's comments that WWII reparations should be reconsidered receives no support from government.

The German government has signaled there will be no change of policy towards Greece, after President Joachim Gauck’s called for a new approach on the debate over WWII reparations.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert told a press conference in Berlin on Monday that the government’s position, which claims the reparations debate had been closed under past agreements, remains unchanged.

Seibert said at the regular press conference: "In terms of German governments policy on the reparations debate and Greece, I have nothing new to say here.

"There is no new position …The position of Germany is clear."

"Over the last couple of weeks I have explained our legal and political position … I don’t have anything to add to that,” he said.

The German government has repeatedly argued the WWII reparation claims were resolved under previous international agreements.

Gauck called for a new approach towards Greek WWII reparations claim in an interview published in the weekend edition of the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Economic reforms

Gauck underlined the Nazi Germany had left behind a trail of destruction in Europe during WWII, including Greece.

He said: "It would be the right thing to do for a country like us, which is conscious of its history, to discuss which possibilities there might be for reparations.

"As a President, I will not put forward a legal opinion other than the opinion of the government. But I am following with interest the ongoing discussions in Germany on different proposals."

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in March that Germany owed Greece about €162 billion ($236 billion) due to forced loans, confiscations and crimes committed when the Nazi government occupied the country.

Tsipras and his radical-left SYRIZA party are currently negotiating with European creditors for economic reforms intended to help the country pay its public debt.

Germany argues that the 1990 Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, signed by East and West Germany and the Allies including Greece shortly before German reunification, had put a formal end to all claims against united Germany relating to WWII.

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Last Modified: 2015-05-04 19:14:30
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