The debate regarding German war reparations has resurfaced. Although both legal and moral grounds siding with the Greek government are strong, an official claim has never been issued.
Those who occasionally attempted to stress this issue have been treated either as ludicrous or as disruptive, since such an effort could damage relations with the Germans. Ironically enough, Germany’s Spiegel has published quotes of its own historians defending the Greek position.
The German minister has already refuted liabilities of nearly 162 billion Euros. The fact that this time the discussion is taking place in the global media is the reason why Schaeuble is so alarmed and tried to close the subject immediately. He knows that this may prove to be the tip of the iceberg which could sink German prosperity, as it is certain that Greece could become a precedent providing the grounds for other countries to raise the same issue and there could even be a sort of alliance between countries which will be making the claim against the Germans.
Let’s not kid ourselves. From Schaeuble’s perspective Greece remains – and will remain for a while – the “black sheep”. Schaeuble’s job is to serve German national interests. In response, it should be the Greek Government’s job to officially claim the reparation owed to the Greek citizens, clarifying globally that it is deeply hypocritical for a country to be raising the issue of credibility when it has not lived up to its own international financial obligations.
This indeed is a “David and Goliath” clash all over. It is no longer a matter of responding to Germany’s arrogance. It is a matter of Greek national interests which if handled properly from a legal, political and communications point of view, grounds could be formed in order for Germany’s obligations to be traded for the Greek national debt. If not handled properly, this extremely vital case will end up being a lost opportunity, or even worse, a lost cause similar to the one of the Elgin marbles.