Germany has been one of the main lenders to Greece during its nearly-decade old debt crisis.
The subject was a hotly contested one within German political circles and put party against party about whether or not Greece deserved Germany’s bailout loans.
Conservative parties warned that supporting Greece would come at the cost of the German taxpayer. Media fueled the fire with cartoons depicting lazy Greeks and articles about tax evasion.
New figures from the German government, however, show that The country has made money— and a lot of it— on the Greek financial crisis.
The German government released figures in response to a parliamentary question from the Green Party which shows 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.
Official figures published by the government on show that Germany made €2.5 billion in interest payments on the bonds and an additional €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.
Germany has been the most resistant country to any form of debt relief for Greece and has demanded that Athens be closely tracked on reform implementation after the bailout plan ends this summer.
Fighting the German hardliners, who also include the Netherlands and other northern eurozone countries, are France and the European Central Bank, all of whom argue that reduced debt is crucial in order for Greece to gain the trust of the markets and rebuild its economy.
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