Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos spoke of Greece as “the force working for peace and growth, both in the Balkans and Southeast Europe, as well as in the wider European Union,” during a ceremonial event held on Saturday at the village of Katarraktis, which rendered him an honorary citizen of Central Tzoumerka, a municipality in the Arta regional unit at Epirus in northern Greece.
Nazi Germany’s occupation forces had carried out several atrocities near Katarraktis when they took over the entire region of Epirus from Italy in 1943, where they performed large-scale anti-partisan sweeps against active Greek resistance forces.
Pavlopoulos stressed that “if necessary, we, the Greeks, are ready to effectively defend our homeland’s borders and territory, which also happen to be the borders and territory of the European Union,” and emphasized how “history has taught us how to achieve our important goals, our national goals.”
In reference to the Greek Civil War that followed Greece’s occupation by Nazi Germany, he emphasized that “division has cost us dearly” and how “such tragic mistakes are not to be repeated.”
He also pointed out that “Greece belongs, definitively and irrevocably, to the European Union and to its hard core, the Eurozone,” and said that the country is operating “in full commitment to European and international law.”
Finally, the Greek President said that “far from any logic of retaliation, which is completely alien to us, the Greeks, we shall maintain our legitimate claims to Germany for war reparations against the country’s Nazi occupation and for the forced state loan Germany seized at the time.”