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Germany and Greece: Bilateral relations Greece

22.10.2019 - Article

Relations between Germany and Greece have traditionally been close.

The 2016 German-Greek Action Plan for Bilateral Cooperation provides the framework for intensive cooperation in politics, business, technology, academia, education, culture and civil society.

The German-Greek Assembly promotes cooperation between the municipalities and regions.

The German political foundations in Greece play an important role in bilateral dialogue.

Greece was occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War. The Wehrmacht and the SS committed terrible crimes. During his visit to Greece in 2014, then Federal President Joachim Gauck unequivocally recognised Germany’s special historical responsibility and asked for forgiveness on behalf of Germany from the families of people murdered by the Nazis.

In order to address this dark chapter in the two countries’ history, the Federal Foreign Office has set up the German-Greek Future Fund, which provides financing for measures to establish a shared culture of remembrance and achieve reconciliation with the villages where atrocities were committed and the Jewish communities.

A German-Greek Youth Office is currently being set up with the aim of fostering youth exchange and reconciliation between Greeks and Germans.

Germany is one of Greece’s most important trade partners. The main German exports are chemical products, machinery and food, while the main imports from Greece are crude oil and food.

German companies are among the principal foreign investors in Greece. The two countries work closely together on infrastructure and renewable energies. Approximately 29,000 people are employed by the over 120 German companies operating in Greece.

Around ten percent of all Greeks have lived in Germany for a longer period. Over 300,000 people of Greek origin currently live in Germany, while approximately 45,000 German citizens live in Greece.

The umbrella organisation, Association of German-Greek Societies, has some 50 member associations in Germany.

The two German schools in Athens and Thessaloniki were founded over a century ago.

German plays an important role as a foreign language in Greece. The Goethe-Institut and the German Academic Exchange Service have offices in the country. Several thousand Greek students are currently attending university in Germany. Around 40,000 Greeks did all or part of their vocational training in Germany.

The German Archaeological Institute has had an office in Athens since 1874 and is involved in important excavations in various places in the Country.


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