Do Greece’s claims have legal basis?

Source: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών_/Flickr/Creative Commons
Source: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών_/Flickr/Creative Commons

CGP experts comment on Greece reparation for German damage in WWII

News from Apr 23, 2015

Recently, representatives of Greece are using the opportunity, which is their sailing along the shore of insolvency to claim reparations for forced state loans from the German government during WWII. For Germany, it has so far resisted these requests. Does Greece government’s claim have legal basis? How many decades, or centuries, back is there a possibly legitimate basis for such claims? This week on “Global Matters. Bits and thoughts on World Politics”, Center for Global Politics experts are having a discussion on if Greece has legal rights for these debt claims.

Shen Dingli, Professor and Associate Dean at Fudan University’s Institute of International Studies, who is also an expert of the Center of Global Politics, arguing that “It depends”. He says it is necessary to check how that agreement was written. “If it made clear that Greece would give up any future claim, then the Greek government now has no legal basis to raise a new demand. If not, there may be additional room for the two sides to draw up a final settlement”.

However, dean of the School of Political Science at MGIMO University in Moscow, Alexei Voskressenski has a more absolute answer. ”They have no legitimate basis”, it is clear that German concessions, if any, may only be voluntary. What the German needs to do is to calculate, soberly, to what extent these additional claims are realistic and how they can be converted into strengthening German leadership in Europe.

And Andrey Makarychev, Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Tartu, Estonia and a regular instructor for International Relations Online and East European Studies Online at the Center for Global Politics, thinks this question can be better answered in the context of the ideas of global governance. As in a society composed of human beings, in international society the most delicate and explosive issues between states have to be relegated to international authorities. If Greece can afford hiring the best international lawyers and pay them for bringing the case to court, “it could have some (though very limited) legal perspective”.

Join the discussion here.

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