Greece, Germany put past tension behind them as Merkel visits

13 January, 2019, 13:47 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Police Tear Gas Greeks Who Defied Ban on Protesting Merkel Visit		ARIS MESSINIS  AFP  Getty Images11 Jan 2019

"It is a matter of the heart to support Greece for the benefit of both nations", Merkel said.

In a more accurate translation, the chancellor said Germany was "conscious of historical responsibility" over the "suffering" caused by the Nazis in Greece.

"There is no relation between the name deal and economic measures", she said.

Out of the two protest marches called by fringe groups against Merkel's visit, one by the Nazi-inspired far-right Golden Dawn party was canceled. "We are no longer part of the problem, but part of the".

"I don't believe in deterrence, meaning that I must make things awful enough so that no one will come anymore", she said, adding that the answer lay far more in developing humane perspectives in the refugees' countries of origin.

The German Chancellor, in reference to the upcoming European elections, said that she was united with Tsipras "in the deeply-held conviction that it is through cooperation in Europe, not nationalism, that we will have a better future".

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The EU's "hotspot" screening system on islands had from the start been unable to cope, Oxfam said, citing cases of pregnant women being sent from camp clinics back to tents.

Germany will continue to support Greece in this new stage, she stressed, repeating the remark she made also on Thursday upon her arrival in Athens during the first meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel flew into Athens Thursday for a short visit that appears created to pressure the Greek political establishment into approving a tension-reducing deal with neighbouring Macedonia.

Berlin argues that its payment to Athens of 115 million deutschmarks in 1960 (€59 million in today's currency) - coupled with a 1990 treaty at the moment German reunification - settled the issue.

Also in 2014, ex-president Joachim Gauck sought public forgiveness in the name of Germany from relatives of those murdered by the Nazis in the mountains of northern Greece. A Greek Commission of experts had estimated the extent of the war damage to at least 289 billion euros.

The issue of past injustices resurfaced during Greece's 2010-2018 economic bailout phase, with Germany targeted for painful cuts imposed by global creditors. Tsipras's junior coalition partner, the right-wing Independent Greeks, has vowed to walk out of the government if the deal is ratified.

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