Greece may have a novel way of solving its debt problems: Get Germany to pay billions in decades-old war reparations. The Greek finance ministry commissioned a secret report that says Germany owes the country big time over World War II. Though the Greek newspaper, To Vima, that printed the report yesterday didn't give an exact figure as to what was owed, previous Greek calculations point to some $211 billion, or 80% of Greece's GDP, der Spiegel reports.
The 80-page, top-secret report emerged yesterday. "Greece never received any compensation ... for the loans it was forced to provide to Germany or for the damages it suffered during the war," the paper reported. The report came after researchers perused 190,000 pages of documents, including court rulings and legal texts, many of which had been kept in bags in the basements of government buildings. But Germany isn't exactly tripping over itself to pay up, and Greece's government doesn't want to risk its ties to a country leading the fight against the euro crisis. "This is no time to pick a fight with Berlin," says a top Greek official.