Merkel Recognises Nazi Crimes in Greece, Remains Silent on WWII Reparations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel chats with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos during their meeting in Athens on 11 January 2019

The demands of Greece regarding the reparations for crimes of the "inhuman" Nazi invasion of Greece and the occupational loan issue are "legal" and "legally enforceable", Pavlopoulos told reporters.

Relations between Greece and Germany have calmed since her previous visits in 2012 and 2014, which were overshadowed by angry anti-austerity rallies.

Germany recognizes its historical responsibility for crimes committed by the Nazis in Greece, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday on her first visit to Athens since 2014.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday during her joint press conference in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras that she was "grateful to him for working with the Prime Minister of FYROM, Zoran Zaev in reach a solution to the decades long 'name" issue, adding that the deal with benefit both countries. Pavlopoulos reiterated Athens' demand for reparations in mid-December during the anniversary of the massacre in the Greek village of Kalavryta, where the male population of the village was almost exterminated by the German army in 1943, pointing to the need for compensation for all of Nazi Germany's, in addition to the occupation loan.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos (R) meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Presidential Mansion in Athens, Greece, on January 11, 2019.

Berlin argues that its payment to Athens of 115 million deutschmarks in 1960 (€59 million in today's currency) - coupled with a 1990 treaty at the moment German reunification - settled the issue.

This time, Merkel backed Tsipras's efforts to resolve a name dispute with Greece's northern neighbor, the Republic of Macedonia, which could clear that country's path to joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Merkel is also due to hold talks with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on Friday and then with New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose party is an EU Parliament ally of her Christian Democratic Union.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European spirit has been strengthened through the management of common challenges and Europe will have a better future through cooperation and not nationalism.She gave a joint statement to the press with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday at the start of her two-day visit to Athens, reported Xinhua news agency."We have been through hard years". Runaway inflation followed, and tens of thousands of people starved to death.