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Greece asks Germany for €279bn in war reparations

Germany owes Greece nearly €279 billion (£203.5 billion) in damages from World War II, Greece's deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas has said.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Credit: Reuters

This is the first time the Greek government has quantified its reparation claims for the Nazi occupation of the country.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras set up a parliamentary panel last week, seeking to claim German debts.

These include war reparations, the repayment of a so-called occupation loan that Nazi Germany forced the Bank of Greece to make and the return of stolen archaeological treasures.

The campaign for compensation has gained momentum in the past few years as the European Union and International Monetary Fund have imposed austerity measures on the country in exchange for bailouts totalling €240 billion to save Greece from bankruptcy.

Germany has repeatedly rejected Greece's claims. It says it has honoured its obligations, including a 115 million deutschmark payment to Greece in 1960.

Greece confirms date for loan repayment to IMF

Greece has confirmed it will make its payment due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on April 9.

There had been fears that Athens would default on its loan repayment, but in a meeting between finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and the IMF's Christine Lagarde on Sunday.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Lagarde said the IMF would continue working with Greece to help it return to sustainable growth, and said both sides had agreed that "effective cooperation" was in everyone's interest.

Policy discussions will resume in Brussels in the morning, she added.

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Greece and IMF set for further finance talks

Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is due to meet with the International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde on Sunday to continue discussions of the planned reforms that Athens hopes will unlock the bailout funds Greece needs.

The finance ministry and the IMF confirmed Varoufakis and Lagarde would be meeting in Washington for "an informal discussion".

Greek PM 'more optimistic' after EU talks on financing

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was "more optimistic" after three hours of talks with the leaders of Germany, France and EU institutions on the possibility of further financing.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Credit: APTN

"I'm more optimistic after this deliberation. I think that all the sides confirmed their intention to try to do their best to overcome the difficulties of the Greek economy as soon as possible," Tsipras said on leaving the talks in Brussels.

The prime minister said all parties had promised they would work to restore Greece's funding ability as soon as possible.

Merkel: Greece promises to speed up bailout agreement

Greece has promised to speed up implementing its extended bailout agreement and send a full list of detailed reform proposals to its eurozone partners, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Credit: APTN

Following an overnight mini-summit with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, French President Francois Hollande and heads of the main EU institutions, Merkel said euro-area finance ministers are ready to meet soon to evaluate the reform plans.

However, she declined to set any date for releasing further aid to the cash-strapped Greek government, saying that depended on a positive evaluation of the reform proposals.

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German parliament approves Greece bailout extension

The German parliament has approved a deal to extend Greece's financial bailout by four months.

A total of 542 MPs within the 631-seat chamber voted in favour of approving the extension.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has overwhelmingly backed the extension of Greece's bailout despite dissension from within their ranks and in the German press. Credit: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The approval came after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble - a sceptic of Athens - promised Greece would not be allowed to "blackmail" its European partners.

The vote in the Bundestag was the only major hurdle for the four-month exension for the most heavily indebted country in the euro zone.

Greek government suspends football due to violence

Greek football has struggled with violence in recent years. Credit: PA

The Greek government has suspended all professional football indefinitely in an attempt to crack down on violence.

It follows trouble between supporters of rivals Olympiakos and Panathinaikos last weekend, a fixture between Greek rivals which often descends into violence in and around the stadium.

The Greek top flight has already been suspended twice this season because of fighting related to football.

Greece hopes to start reform plans 'immediately'

Greece hopes that it will be able to start discussions with its EU and International Monetary Fund partners on filling the state's funding gap straight away, a finance ministry official has said.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the official said:

The discussions on Greece's funding gap will begin tonight, tomorrow morning.

– Greek finance ministry official

Lagarde: Greek reform plans need to be 'specific'

Greece's reform plan is sufficient for the Eurozone to continue to give the country aid, but is lacking finer details, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has said.

In a letter to Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Ms Lagarde said that the Greek plan was comprehensive in some areas but "not very specific."

In quite a few areas, however, including perhaps the most important ones, the letter is not conveying clear assurances that the government intends to undertake the reforms envisage.

– Christine Lagarde

Among other areas of concern, she cited pensions and value-added tax policy as well as labor market reforms.

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