Conservative opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday the occupation loan Greece was forced to pay out to Nazi Germany during World War Two is “legally open and politically feasible,” and its repayment should be made a priority.
Mitsotakis was speaking in parliament, during a debate on a House committee report on German war reparations. The parliamentary commission report has estimated the cost of occupation at up to 300 billion euros (269 billion euros without the occupation loan). Germany has long insisted that the issue has been settled.
The leader of New Democracy said the demand for war reparations is “legally complicated,” but added that Greeks who were the victims of Nazi atrocities have the right and should claim reparations. “We knew and know that the legal path is expected to be difficult,” he told lawmakers.
He said his party will approve the document presented by the committee, but criticized the SYRIZA-led government for the timing of the debate.
Mitsotakis said that although it was first tabled in parliament in 2016, the government chose to discuss it months before the national elections, hoping to gain political capital. He also criticized Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for not pursuing the issue in talks with his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel.
In 1941, Nazi Germany forced Greece’s central bank to pay out an interest-free loan of about 476 million Reichsmarks. Germany used the money to finance the “cost of occupation” of Greece and its military operations in North Africa.