Thursday, March 12, 2015

Greece Plays Antiquities Card Against Germany

Greece's new leftist government has played its "antiquities card" against Germany in an effort to portray Greece as a victim instead of addressing its serious debt problem with much needed structural changes to the Greek economy  (as difficult as that may be).  According to press reports,

Justice minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos has reportedly called for “war reparations, the repayment of a forced loan and the return of antiquities” from Germany, and said that an old court ruling gave him the power to sanction “the foreclosure of German assets in Greece” as a form of compensation.

More proof, if any were needed, that repatriation has far more to do with "politics" than anything else.


kyri said...

hi peter,germany could right off all greek debt and it still wont be enough to repay the damage they did to greece in ww2.the previous conservative greek government knew what was coming and wanted help,all they got was the troika. hear is an interesting article i read in the financial times,interesting because germany, of all nations should be understanding and be able to grant debt relief to greece,showing some compassion,especially as they have been the receipient of debt relief on a massive scale on more than one occasion[6 times i think].i guess its just not in their nature.anyway now they have got what they deserved,a left wing government that will pull greece out of the euro,default on its debts and bring the whole house of cards crashing down.thank god we hear in the uk still have the pound.

Cultural Property Observer said...

Well, keep in mind that Greece already has gotten lots of debt relief. It will be difficult, but they need to make some structural changes to open up their economy. Perhaps, even again allow antiquities sales beyond the few places grandfathered in...

Over all, I think it would be best if Greece lett the Euro (not EU). That would allow them to depreciate their currency and become even a more attractive vacation spot and also make their exports a lot cheaper. Here in the US, Greek wine has really taken off.

Dave Welsh said...

Everything I have seen regarding Greece leaving the Euro suggests that the drachma would soon depreciate to such an extent that everything imported would become extremely expensive for Greeks, and their standard of living would fall dramatically.

So far as reparations are concerned, the war between Germany and Greece started only because Mussolini attacked Greece without any provocation or justification, and the Greeks more than held their own against his cowardly legions. In fact it required a major effort by what was (at the time) the most formidable army in the world to defeat Greece.

It has been seriously contended by military historians that the heroic Greek resistance delayed the German invasion of Russia to such an extent that winter intervened before Moscow fell, which would have meant the defeat of Russia.

2500 years after Thermopylae, heroic Greeks once again saved civilization.

What about reparations from Italy?

Cultural Property Observer said...

Dave, good points, but Greeks are already suffering. Best to accept the reality that they can't meet the Euro critria and should leave. Imports will become expensive, but I suspect that Greece depends on them less than others.

Also good point on WW II and the delay of the invasion of Russia, but a bit much to say the Greeks saved the Western World on account of it.

CPO also thinks the Germans already suffered enough and we should not be talking reparations from them or the Italians for that matter at this point. And it's a bit silly to equate war reilef with debt relief due to wasteful overspending.

Dave Welsh said...


I can't disagree with your comments regarding reparations, however it seems very unfair to target only Germany when Italy has so much culpability in Greece's past agony.

Regarding WWII and the role of the Greek conflict, we tend to forget today that the outcome of the war was not predestined and that Hitler might very well have won if his attack on Russia had been made a month earlier.

That is not only my opinion, but that of some respected military historians.

Perhaps I should have said "2500 years after Thermopylae, heroic Greeks perhaps once again saved civilization."