By Gabrielle Beacken
According to Greece, Germany owes them billions of dollars for unpaid World War II reparations, USA Today reported.
In 2010, Greece was offered a $260 billion bailout from the European Union in order to divert bankruptcy. The largest aid provider in the European Union was Germany, according USA Today.
According to Greek officials, cited in the USA Today article, Germany owes Greece approximately $302 billion with $11 billion in interest due to overdue monetary compensation for the Nazi occupation in World War II.
This is the first time Greece has computed the monetary amount Germany owes Greece for “Nazi atrocities and looting during the 1940s,” according to BBC.
The deadline for Greece to pay back a loan of about $487 million from the International Monetary Fund was due Thursday, April 7. According to the BBC article, Greece is struggling to pay back their financial debt.
“To be honest I think it’s dumb,” German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told BBC. “I think that it doesn’t move us forward one millimetre on the question of stabilizing Greece.”
This is an “attempt to distract attention from Greece’s looming credit crunch,” according to USA Today.
Greece claims that Germany gave Athens a small portion of their desired payout for Nazi occupation damages in 1960, according to USA Today. However, Germany asserts that the country paid the required amount of 115 million Marks (a prior Germany currency replaced by the Euro) and additionally provided aid to the victims of the Nazi regime, according to CNN.
Lending Greece $56 billion euros, Germany’s public is “losing patience,” and German media have described the allegations against Germany as “bizarre” and “impertinent” according to CNN.
Investing the most in Greece, Germany has the most to lose, said CNN.
“Slashing salaries” and “introducing higher taxes” are two tactics Germany has pressured Greece into implementing for them to meet their financial promises, according to CNN.
“Berlin’s hard-line approach has turned it into Public Enemy No. 1 among the Greek public,” said USA Today.
The war reparations claim by Greece has not aided ongoing talks between Greece and Germany. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras “appears to be courting Russia and China for financial help,” said USA Today, because of the Prime Minister’s accusation that the countries of the European Union, including Germany, have “blackmailed” Greece.
In January, an election of a new governmental coalition between Tsipras and Independent Greeks — a conservative political party — named “Syriza” formed. The Syriza government is “radically left” winged, according to BBC.
Germany’s Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schauble, has “made little attempt to conceal his contempt for the Syriza government,” said USA Today. Schauble is upset with the new leaders because he believes they are “wrecking” the trust Germany and Greece have previously shared, according to USA Today.
“The new Greek government has totally destroyed the trust of its European partners … this is a serious setback,” Schauble said in a USA Today article.