Greek apology for insult to Germany

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BRUSSELS (Reuter) - Theodore Pangalos, the Greek European Affairs Minister, yesterday apologised to Germany for calling it 'a giant with bestial force and a child's brain'.

The apology was made on the fringes of an EC summit and followed persistent pressure from Germany for Mr Pangalos to say he was sorry for the remarks. He met the German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, to lay to rest the insult, which hurt Greek- German relations a month before Athens was due to take over the EU presidency.

'Pangalos expressed his regret for the comments in his speech and stressed his interest in close co-operation with Germany,' a German Foreign Ministry statement said. It quoted Mr Kinkel as saying that after the apology 'there were no further obstacles' to co-operation.

Greece had dismissed Mr Pangalos' comments as personal statements and not official policy and declared the case closed. But EC sources said the Germans, especially Chancellor Helmut Kohl, wanted an official apology or some acceptable explanation.