Sunday, July 12, 2015

Greece wants Germany to repay €279bn it was forced to loan the Nazi authorities during WWII //

Greece wants Germany to repay €279bn it was forced to loan the Nazis during WWII

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. 

He said the committee had obtained "stunning evidence" to support the reparations claim.
“The government will work in order to honour fully its obligations. But, at the same time, it will work so that all of the unfulfilled obligations to Greece and the Greek people are met,” Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras said last month at a parliamentary debate on the creation of the committee.

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. €279 bn 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. It is highly unlikely that Germany with accede to the demand, but the move by Greece’s government is domestically popular and will help it re-frame the debate about Greece’s debts.

The renewed demand for reparations comes after last year’s election of an anti-austerity Greek government led in bulk by the left-wing Syriza party (Coalition of the Radical Left). The new government has pledged to take a harder line against Greece’s creditors, who it says have treated it unfairly. The Axis WWII occupation of Greece had a devastating effect on the south European country's economy and led to hundreds of thousands of Greeks starving to death.

Greek resistance groups launched guerrilla attacks against occupying soldiers who requisitioned natural resources and other industrial and agricultural produce for the German war effort.