Greece wants $300 billion for WWII reparations. Germany calls it ‘stupid’

Fortune

Germany’s economy minister branded Greece’s demand for 278.7 billion euros (or roughly $300 billion) in reparations from World War Two as « stupid » on Tuesday, while the German opposition said Berlin should repay a forced loan dating from the Nazi occupation.

Greek Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas made the demand on Monday, seizing on an emotional issue in a country where many blame Germany, their biggest creditor, for the tough austerity measures and record high unemployment connected with two international bailouts totaling 240 billion euros.

Sigmar Gabriel, who is economy minister and German vice chancellor, called the demand « stupid, » saying Greece ultimately had an interest in squeezing a bit of leeway out of its euro zone partners to help Athens overcome its debt crisis.

« And this leeway has absolutely nothing to do with World War Two or reparation payments, » said Gabriel, who leads the Social Democrats (SPD), junior partner in the…

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