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Germany plays down spat with Greece

AFP · 26 Feb 2010, 18:22

Published: 26 Feb 2010 18:22 GMT+01:00

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"There is clearly a slight disagreement" between Berlin and Athens, Stefan Bredohl, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a regular briefing.

Nevertheless, he added that the German ambassador in Athens had held an "amicable" meeting with the president of the Greek parliament in which these disagreements had not played a role.

The ambassador sought to offer "clarification" to Greece after a Greek consumer association, enraged by the cover of a German magazine, called for a boycott on German goods.

The cover of this week's Focus magazine showed the ancient Greek statue the Venus de Milo making an obscene hand gesture with the caption: "A cheat in the euro family."

The association, Inka, demanded an apology from Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will hold clear-the-air talks with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in Berlin next Friday.

The talks will cover "all topics relating to bilateral relations, European policy and other international questions," Sabine Heimbach, a government spokeswoman said, adding that "current events" would also be tackled.

Adding to bilateral tensions between the two countries is a decades-old spat over war reparations, reheated by Athens as concerns over its debt mountain sent the euro spiralling downwards on the foreign exchange markets.

The mayor of Athens, Nikitas Kaklamanis, said: "You owe us 70 billion for the ruins you left behind."

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Greece's government overspending reached 12.7 percent of output in 2009 as the global downturn sent public deficits through the roof, putting government bonds under pressure, weakening the euro and pushing the eurozone into crisis.

Papandreou warned on Friday that his country risks bankruptcy unless strict austerity measures were enacted fast to cut the deficit.

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Your comments about this article

19:11 February 26, 2010 by Fredfeldman
As richest EU member and former boogyman Germany willl again feel responsible for absolving EU debt. Pity the poor germans who were so enthusiastic to supplant the DMark with the euro - they thought the deal would buy them some respectability and security. How do you think a national plebiscite on the issue would play now? :-)
19:33 February 26, 2010 by Jim09
How much germany needs to care if greece wont buy german goods anymore? ain't to big that country...

the question is: what will happen if germans wont visit greece anymore...
19:40 February 26, 2010 by Frenemy
"Respect" and "security"??!! Why and from what?? Germany already had the strongest economy in Europe!!

Germans never wanted the (t)euro. This sh!t was primarily a French project...an unabashed effort to regain some respect on the world stage (lol, Vive Le France!) :-p
01:12 February 27, 2010 by efi
You know, universal attitudes towards nations are not based on evidence or solid facts... And they tend to be racist. Actually, you sound like a football fan talking about another team.
01:14 February 27, 2010 by berlinski
Plenty of Greek restaurants in Germany for me to boycott. I reckon I have had my last Gyros for a while.
04:22 February 27, 2010 by CalBill
The bottom line is that Germans pay taxes and Greeks don't. That explains why Greece is broke and germany isn't. Pretty simple, really.
07:36 February 27, 2010 by ColoSlim
The average German should ask, how does this effect me personally? Does mismanagement in Greece really change my life here in Germany? This is the EU, relax and everything will work out.
11:10 February 27, 2010 by gagaou
It is funny for Germans to complain soooo much when the largest holders of Greek debt are the Swiss and the French. What the Germans really need to think about is Holland (take a look at their economy), Spain and Italy.
15:58 February 27, 2010 by magdelana
Bringing up the past 65 years ago. and making thigs ugly is not an intelligent way for Greece to have relations with Germany. Demanding 70 Billion is ludacrist. All they are doing is hurting the EU. When people don't stand together everyone is a loser.!1
18:04 February 27, 2010 by mixxim
Greece is a thirdworld country, as is Hungary, bulgaria,and many of the new entries, France and Germany are the financiers of the rest. The EU is a dying white elephant giving jobs for the boys and draining resources which would be better used elsewhere. Hopefully the next UK election will bring in more UKIP MPs.
19:54 February 27, 2010 by gagaou
Right from a fiscal perspective the UK has been doing very well lately.
00:35 February 28, 2010 by madgerman1
It seems as though every country wants to blame its troubles on a stronger country and it always seems to be GERMANY, which isnt right.I personally think Germany will overlook this,only a weak country cries! GO GERMANY #1!
10:41 February 28, 2010 by anotherGreek
.... time to wake up now.

please read here..

08:33 March 1, 2010 by SilberFuchs
Hey People, what does it matter if Greece tightens it's spending habit or not? So Greece goes through a bit of inflation, no biggie!! What is the worry for Germany or the rest of Europe? NOTHING! Relax, there is no problem except for the imaginary one of the EU, no need to get into name calling or being nasty.
01:19 March 5, 2010 by baltog
mixxim......?!? be a nice boy ...my mixxim...Hungary and greece 3world countries??? mixxiiiiim! .....and east germany 1st world country????? hahahaha....mixximmmmmm be nice...the 1/2 of germany became "europe" 11 years after greece....and during the socialist years Hungary was the DREAM for the east germans......mixxiiiiiiiim...good night baby
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