Germany makes billions in interest from Greek debt misery

EPA/PATRICK SEEGER via Naftemporiki

Daily and Sunday Express — Figures revealed yesterday show once again that despite Germany’s fear taxpayers would pick up the bill for the crisis in Greece, Angela Merkel’s government actually made money on the massive sums lent to Greece.

In response to a parliamentary question from the Green Party, the German government released new figures yesterday showing that Berlin has made €2.9 billion in interest payments on Greek bonds since 2010.

Online platform report that since 2010 Germany has been buying Greek government bonds as part of an EU deal to prop up the struggling Greek economy. The bonds were bought by the Bundesbank and then transferred to the federal treasury.

The original agreement between Berlin and Athens was for any interest earned on the bonds would be paid back to Greece when it fulfilled its reform obligations.

But report that the figures published by the government on Thursday show that Germany made €3.4 billion in interest payments on the bonds and only paid Greece €527 million in 2013 and €387 million the following year.

Germany is, therefore, €2.5bn in profit, plus interest of €400m on a loan from the KfW development bank

The Green party have responded to the figures by calling for debt relief for Greece.

Green MP Sven-Christian Kindler said: “Contrary to all the myths spread by people on the right, Germany has profited massively from the crisis in Greece.

“It can’t be the case that the government makes billions in profits on Greek debt which it puts into the German budget.

“The Greeks have kept their side of the bargain by making painful cuts to the budget but now it is the Euro group’s time to keep its promises.”

The news comes as eurozone finance ministers meet today to discuss how best to bring the debt-laden country back to the financial markets and end Greece’s third bailout program following the 2010 debt crisis.

Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s economy commissioner, said he is “confident” of a deal that would mark the beginning of the end to the tough terms imposed on Greece by the EU and IMF since the bailouts began.

Greece is expected to be left with minimal repayments on the massive €228bn it still owes to other eurozone countries, until after 2030.

Eurozone ministers are looking to convince investors that Greece is ready to return to markets when its bailout programme expires in August.

A deal and a return to the bond markets would mean that Greece could once again take out loans for public spending.

Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s economy commissioner, said the EU wants to “meaningfully lighten Greece’s debt burden” and “send a positive signal both to markets and to public opinion”.