Germany rejects Greeces demands for £120 billion in reparations for WW II

German soldiers raising the German War Flag over the Acropolis. Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-164-0389-23A / Scheerer / CC-BY-SA

Germany has rejected Greece’s demands for £120billion in reparations for Second World War damages – adding there is ‘zero’ chance they will pay.

New Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in his first major speech to parliament, yesterday said his country had a ‘moral obligation’ to claim repayment for a forced wartime loan and other reparations.

Tsipras’s anti-austerity Syriza party claims Germany owes it around €162 billion ($183 billion) — or around half the country’s public debt, which stands at over €315 billion…

Note this critical date: February 28, 2015: Eurozone bailout programme ends. Without an extension, Athens will not receive final aid tranche of €1.8 bn.

More on the Greek crisis from the Financial Times:

Chancellor Angela Merkel poured cold water on a push by Greece’s new government to end its bailout and strike a new financing deal with its creditors, saying the current programme was “the basis of any discussions that we have”.

Ms Merkel, speaking in Washington, also said “what counts” is the proposal “that Greece puts on the table” at an emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, Germany’s powerful finance minister hinted darkly that a Greek plan to leave the bailout at the end of the month could draw a harsh reaction from financial markets.

“I wouldn’t know how financial markets will handle it, without a programme — but maybe he knows better,” Wolfgang Schäuble told reporters, referring to Alexis Tsipras, the new Greek premier.

And further:

Alexis Tsipras, the new Greek prime minister, has insisted he will not seek an extension to the country’s current bailout, putting his leftwing government on a collision course with its creditors in the run-up to this week’s EU summit.

In his first speech to parliament as prime minister since taking office last month, Mr Tsipras said on Sunday: “This government isn’t justified in seeking an extension . . . The bailout has failed.

“The Greek people gave a strong and clear mandate to immediately end austerity and change policies,” he said. “Therefore the bailout was first cancelled by its very own failure and its destructive results.”

Free reads (FT requires registration and permits about 8 free reads a month):

EU warns Greece: Don’t assume eurozone will accept your demands

From the Guardian: Why Ernesto Laclau is the intellectual figurehead for Syriza and Podemos

The latter is actually worth a read: it discusses how the elites dismiss dissenting parties  as “populists.”

Personally, I am still completely convinced that capitalism is the way to go. Yet, at the same time, the insistence of Big Business on mass immigration has really turned me off. They need to realize that they cannot have everything their own way.  

As for the Greek crisis itself, I am no economist but the impression I get from reading around is that the entire Euro project was ill-conceived.   The results are now apparent.   So we should trust them on other major topics like mass immigration, right?