Eurozone crisis: Greece mentions the war

Greek prime minister Alexander Tsipras has caused consternation in Europe by threatening to seize German assets. Matthew Partridge reports.


Greek prime minister Alexander Tsipras is demanding more money from Germany

The Greek prime minister has stepped up demands for World War Tworeparations from Germany, and has even floated the idea of seizing assets. Political posturing or does he have a point?

What's happening?

Such seizures would include cultural institutes, which are owned by the German state. In the 2000 case, the Supreme Court awarded €28m to the relatives of 218 people massacred by the Germans in 1944.

Why should Germany pay more reparations?

As a result, an estimated 300,000 Greeks died of famine. As well as the deportation and extermination of Greece's Jewish population, a further 130,000 were killed for either directly opposing the new regime, or as reprisals for resistance.

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Will Germany pay up?

Even if Germany was inclined to give in to Greece, it is fearful that doing so would encourage other countries to make similar claims. Overall, The Guardian's Helena Smith thinks that "the row is not likely to warm MPs in Merkel's conservative ranks who are already wavering over extending Greece's rescue programme".

How are the talks between Greece and the EU going?

What's more, they are clear that the proposals that have been made so far by Athens are not ambitious enough. Indeed, Germany has threatened to hold up the money that Greece will receive as part of the deal unless it makes more concession. There is also a big query whether, even if the agreement holds up, Greece has enough money to get it through the next few months.

Will another bailout be needed?

This means that there is a good chance that "Greece will leave at some point. And given the extreme difficulties of the current situation, it certainly could be soon".

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

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