Germany and Greece: Bilateral relations

31.05.2023 - Article

Relations between Germany and Greece have traditionally been close.

The German‑Greek Action Plan for Bilateral Cooperation (2016) provides the framework for intensive cooperation in politics, business and science. The German‑Greek Assembly promotes cooperation between the municipalities and regions. The German political foundations in Greece play an important role in bilateral dialogue . The German‑based Association of German‑Greek Societies currently has 33 members.

During the Second World War, Greece was occupied by Germany. 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 those murdered.

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 is intended to help establish a shared culture of remembrance and achieve reconciliation with the villages where atrocities were committed and with the Jewish communities. Set up in the spring of 2021, the German‑Greek Youth Office promotes exchanges between young people from both countries. The Youth Office has bureaus in Thessaloniki and Leipzig.

Germany is one of Greece’s most important trade partners, its main exports being capital goods (machines and tools), operating materials, transport equipment, medical, pharmaceutical and chemical products, motor vehicles, foodstuffs and metals. Germany’s main imports from Greece are foodstuffs (fruit and vegetables), chemical and pharmaceutical products, and metals (aluminium, copper). German companies are among the principal foreign investors in Greece. Approximately 24,000 people are employed by the over 130 German companies operating in Greece.

Some 361,000 people of Greek origin currently live in Germany, while at least 20,000 German nationals have made Greece their home.

The German schools in Athens and Thessaloniki were founded over a century ago. With some 287,000 pupils learning the language at Greek schools alone, German as a foreign language plays an important role in Greece. The Goethe‑Institut and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) have offices in the country. The German Archaeological Institute (DAI) is involved in major excavations in various places in the country.

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