Menü X

DIE LINKE: Germany has to pay back to Greece war reparations

Griechische Nachrichtenagentur APA-MPA

DIE LINKE: Germany has to pay back to Greece war reparations

The necessity for Germany to pay war reparations to Greece for the period of Nazi occupation, stresses in her interview in the online television of ANA-MPA news agency the German Member of European Parliament Gabriele Zimmer, chairman of GUE/NGL at the European Parliament (EP).
  
A leading figure of the Left-wing party “DIE LINKE” in Germany, Ms Zimmer marks in deed that her party “has mobilized in order to place seriously the issue of trials, during the German occupation in Greece and also to be regulated in combination with the Greek debt”.

“From the beginning “Die Linke” had connected the issue of Greek debt with the German occupation and all that the Nazis had committed. A part of the party, had taken distances from this central guideline. Our own position is that, from a moral point of view, Germany ought to pay off these old compensations and the “war loan” that they got, during the Occupation” marks the chairman of the Left Delegation at the EP.  She says that the subject has not been dealt with by the Federal Government, adding: “In the end, however, the subject of German war compensations and of the Occupation will have a favorable solution, a fair solution will be found and finally, the future governments, as well as the Greek population, will have what they wished for”.

With regards to the fact that many in Greece are often under the impression that Die Linke does not keep a positive stance in the German Parliament towards Greece, Ms Zimmer stresses: “No, no, my party has a very concrete stance of solidarity towards the Greek population. It has opposed the handlings of the German government in the Greek crisis, claiming that these handlings are counterproductive, they do not help and they are against popular interests. Our own estimate is that all these billions of Euros of help do not produce results, they are not given towards the right direction and, in the end, they end up with the banks, not going to the Greek people. Our criticism is within this context”.


Regarding the prospects of SYRIZA in Greece, she expressed the hope that - provided that it will be elected first party in the next elections - “SYRIZA should give the answers that everyone has been waiting for, and it will fight, so that it gives these answers.  Not to be, for example, a party, like all the others, that have created the austerity and this complex situation. The government of SYRIZA should face the challenges that other governments and the international economic situation has brought to the country. It should not relax after its victory, but to give an explicit message to Greece and abroad for the configuration of alternative governmental plan. SYRIZA should advance, regardless of conflicts and it should constitute the beginning for a successful course”.


Gabi Zimmer’s interview on the online television of ANA-MPA:

Die Linke had great success in the local elections in the small state of Thuringia, in Eastern Germany. For the first time, there is a possibility to have a left wing Prime Minister in this small state, Mr Bobo Ramelow.


I am certain about that. Twenty (20) years after the fall of the Wall of Berlin, I believe that it is the first time that a Left-wing party has got such good electoral results in Eastern Germany. I consider that we can courageously practice various politics in the federal state, in which a lot of issues occur, such as legislation policies. All these have been processed by the Left-wing party, we have done preparatory work for all the central subjects, about what we should do. For all that will happen in the near future, there’s an alliance between Left and Greens, and they will practice jointly.


I ask for your party because Germany is the “locomotive” of Europe and has the last word about everything, perhaps even about Greece. Recently the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. What’s your take on it? Do you believe that there was a good discussion between them, with any possible results?


I believe that the meeting was important for both sides. The Chancellor, back in the day, used to determine the climate, while the subjects of discussion were those that Germany wanted. What in this meeting was left to emerge is that the Chancellor insisted in not having any tax relaxation. On the other hand, the Greek side asked for a small alleviation of the austerity, a fair, after all, demand - the debt alleviation, something about which the Chancellor implied that “yes, we will see, we will do something”, even though she herself knows that it can’t be done. The Chancellor tried to smooth the situation. Mr. Samaras did not get anything concrete, did not take any initiatives and did not receive any political promises.


Do you believe honestly, that indeed Germany has the will to help Greece and to solve its problems?


I believe that indeed the federal government from the beginning had to know that a monolithic austerity program, implimenting more liberalisation and privatisation, with strict restrictions of public expenses, with a reduction of the public sector – these are not measures for development. From the beginning there should have been a specific plan for growth. Many countries should have received some sort of aid, as well as Greece, without having to bring the growth down, so that unemployment would not be so high and thus, social stability could prevail, with a direction towards social programs, sustainable growth, social benefits, and of course, by strengthening the small and medium-sized sector of Economy in Greece.


The people, in Greece, have often the impression that your party, “Die Linke”, does not keep a positive stance in the Parliament towards Greece, regarding aid. Is that so or not?


No, no, my party has a very concrete stance of solidarity towards the Greek population. It has opposed the handlings of the German government in the Greek crisis, claiming that these handlings are counterproductive, they do not help and they are against popular interests. Our own estimate is that all these billions of Euros of help do not produce results, they are not given towards the right direction and, in the end, they end up with the banks, not going to the Greek people. Our criticism is within this context.


With regards to the issue of German war reparations from World War II and the nazi occupation of Greece, what’s Die Linke’s stance? Does Germany owe these reparations, or not?

 

It is simple, from the beginning “Die Linke” had connected the issue of Greek debt with the German occupation and all that the Nazis had committed. A part of the party, had taken distances from this central guideline. Our own position is that, from a moral point of view, Germany ought to pay off these old compensations and the “war loan” that they got, during the Occupation. Our party has said publicly that this issue should be discussed. We have protested because the issue “has not opened” and as a party we have said that Germany has to take responsibility for what happened in the war. In Bulgaria and in Italy reparations have been paid off, but nobody knows what’s going to happen.

  
As you know, Greece has a very big public debt. Perhaps if Germany did pay the compensations, there could be a counterbalance with the Greek debt?


Yes, this has been pointed out. However, this subject of German compensations has not been discussed by the federal government, and no one in the government knows if it will open - this is an issue that should be discussed also with others. But no initiative has begun with the other parts in order for this subject to be examined - as it often happens - so that an agreement can be reached. This is something that we, as a Left-wing Party, have opened and have expressed our position clearly about. We have been mobilized, on our own initiative in order to place seriously the subject of the German occupation, to do something so that it can be regulated in a combination with the Greek debt. These issues can be set decently, so that Greece can be helped, but also so that Germany’s bad reputation can be lifted. I believe that the issue of German war compensations and Occupation will have a favourable solution, a fair solution will be found and finally, the future governments, as well as the Greek population, will have what they wished for.


In Greece, you have your ”brother” party, SYRIZA, that is also the biggest left-wing party in Europe, while this moment the polls bring it close to forming a government. What is your hope you for SYRIZA in Greece?


I hope of course that SYRIZA will give the answers that everyone has been waiting for, and it will fight, so that it gives these answers.  Not to be, for example, a party, like all the others, that have created the austerity and this complex situation. The government of SYRIZA should face the challenges that other governments and the international economic situation, have brought to the country. It should not relax after its victory, but to give an explicit message to Greece and abroad for the configuration of an alternative governmental plan. SYRIZA should advance, regardless of conflicts and it should constitute the beginning of a successful course. We have learned a lot during the last couple of years abroad from SYRIZA. The Europeans and the German left wingers should continue bringing in the limelight the solidarity between people. For myself, this is the argument of left-wing policy, that with common efforts, we can succeed. This is what I want from SYRIZA.

 

I believe that Chancellor Merkel does not have great sympathy for SYRIZA. However, Mr Tsipras and his collaborators are trying to convince the Europeans that his program is European-friendly and of course that it is realistic. Does “Die Linke” have the power to convince the German electoral body that SYRIZA is a party with realistic policies?


Yes, this is moreover also one pre-requisite for the German left wingers, the strengthening of such forms of solidarity with the other parties - to jointly require the application of political plans - to agree with the application of another policy for Greece. We comprehend, as well as SYRIZA, that the situation is unbearable to remain as such – as a partner of SYRIZA we support its proposal. However, in Germany we have to deal with Ms. Merkel and her government that is opposite, thoughtful, distrustful towards SYRIZA. We have also the systemic media that play the same game and perpetuate it more and more. They have molded an image of SYRIZA as an anti-European party. We, the left wingers in Germany, we have tried to break this systemic image, trying to denounce this situation, trying to mobilise by all means possible, the intellect, to terminate this discussion in Germany, with a lot of initiatives and promoting the good aspects and I hope that we can have good results.


One last question: In the event that SYRIZA does become government, to you foresee the appearance of “Tsipras List”, as it happened in Italy, in other countries as well, such as in Germany?


I think it’s difficult, because I believe that we should evaluate the particularities that each country has. In Eastern Europe there’s a strong interest for the Left and we should fight as a party and as a social movement, as growth factors, with a  common effort for alternative solutions. That’s why it is important, not only for Greece, but for everyone to have a Tsipras government.  


 Transcript by: Vasileios Katsardis
 

 

 

Aktuelle Link-Tipps

  • europROT 17/2019
  • Wegweiser europapolitik
  • EU-Fördermittel
Konföderale Fraktion der Vereinten Europäischen Linken/Nordische Grüne Linke (GUE/NGL)