Berlin has been one of the main lenders to Greece during its debt crisis and while conservative parties said that supporting Greece would come at the cost of the German taxpayer, new figures show Germany has made money on the crisis.
According to German newspaper The Local, the German government released figures on Thursday in response to parliamentary question from the Green Party which show that Germany has made €2.9 billion in interest payments on Greek bonds since 2010.
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.
Initial agreements with the government in Athens set out that any interest earned on the bonds would be paid back to Greece when it fulfilled its reform obligations.
But 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. That left €2.5 billion in profit, plus interest of €400 million on a loan from the KfW development bank.
The Green party have responded to the figures by calling for debt relief for Greece.
“Contrary to all the myths spread by people on the right, Germany has profited massively from the crisis in Greece,” said Green MP Sven-Christian Kindler.
“It can’t be the case that the government makes billions in profits on Greek debt which it puts into the German budget,” he added.
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,” said Kindler.
This comes as Eurozone ministers have just announced their approval of Greece’s last loan tranche, which will total 15 billion euros.