July 11, 2015

Greece is still in hot and heavy negotiations with Germany over how to restructure its debt to avoid inflicting more pain on the Greek people and start building the economy. With creditors clamoring for more pain and less growth room, Greece is not going quietly into the night.

No, they are requesting that Germany repay its debt to Greece from World War II. With interest.

The Greek government has demanded that Germany pays it back €279bn (£205bn) in loans Greece was forced to give the Nazi authorities who occupied the country during World War Two.

Greece has long demanded reparations from Germany but in a statement on Monday Greece’s deputy finance minister Dmitris Mardas put an exact figure on the amount the country says it is owed for the first time.

Mr Mardas was speaking at a committee set up by the country’s left-wing Syriza government to calculate how much money Germany owed Greece.

In December 1942 Greece was forced by Nazi authorities to loan German 476m Richsmarks to cover the cost of the German occupation, which it says it has never been paid back.

€279bn is 125 per cent of Greece’s €223bn GDP; the money is around a tenth of Germany’s GDP.

The modern-day euro figure is the Greek government’s own calculation of what the loan would be worth today.

I'm certain we can expect Germany to scoff, but it places the entire debate in a different and far better frame for Greece, doesn't it?

Update: It looks like Tsipras blinked and more or less agreed to the same deal the people rejected last week. Greeks need to decide if they like the Euro enough to suffer for it, I guess.

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