Euro Rescue

Germany, Greece Narrow Differences

All smiles. Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Nokos Kotzias at the German foreign office Sunday. Wource: photothek.net
All smiles. Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Nokos Kotzias at the German foreign office Sunday.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If Germany and Greece cannot agree a deal, Greece may default on its debts and leave the euro zone.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Greece’s Alexis Tsipras and German chancellor Angela Merkel will meet in Berlin on Monday.
    • The Greek and German foreign ministers have agreed to work together to find a compromise on the Greek crisis.
    • Greece claims Germany should pay reparations for World War II.
  • Audio

    Audio

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After the fight comes the making up. Over a dinner with wine, fresh bread and flowers on a white table cloth, the foreign ministers of Germany and Greece, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Nikos Kotzias, agreed to work together to resolve the Greek financial crisis.

The small, private dinner at the German foreign ministry on Sunday evening between the two men and a clutch of aides signaled a potential thawing of relations between the two countries.

Germany and Greece have been at daggers drawn in recent weeks over the issues of debt, economic reforms and World War II reparations.

Greek ministers, furious that Germany has blocked its access to credit unless it implements domestically unpopular reforms, say that  Greece was destroyed under a brutal Nazi occupation during World War II that Germany has still not paid for. The amount they are demanding – some €300 billion – would wipe out most of Greece’s debt in one go.

Germans, exasperated by having to pay for what they see as an endless bailout for an ungrateful country, see the issue as a distraction.

On Sunday, Mr. Kotzias suggested that the two countries could set up a joint commission to study the issue. “Athens wants to come to an agreement regarding the issue of reparation. We need to find a common denominator,” he said, in an interview with German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

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