Counting the Cost

Can Germany’s past pay for Greece’s future?

We examine the issues behind the Greek government’s demand for German wartime reparations.

As Greece is trying to renegotiate its $260bn bailout, the country has reignited the debate over reparations and compensations for atrocities committed during World War II.

Berlin says the matter is closed and it owes nothing, but Athens wants it taken seriously. They are asking for 160bn euros (around $172bn) of war time reparations, plus 50bn euros for loans taken from the Greek Central Bank back in 1943.  

In addition, Athens demands $30m for the Distomo massacre. In June 1944, Nazi troops descended on the village in central Greece. They were executing resistance fighters, when they were attacked from the hills. What followed is one of the most infamous Nazi atrocities in Greece, soldiers went from house to house, killing 214 people.

Germany has done a great deal to acknowledge its past, and as Europe’s economic powerhouse it has contributed billions into the EU budget – $17bn every year. That is just one of many reasons used to dismiss the reparations claims.

Can reparations help Greece on its way to recovery? Does Germany owe Greece wartime reparations money? And can apologies and compensations bring closure? Dominic Kane examines Germany’s economic success and takes a look at the question of reparations.

Ulf Brunnbauer, a historian at Regensburg University, joins Counting the Cost to talk about Germany’s past and present, legal and moral claims, and the issues behind Greece’s move to ask for reparations 70 years after the war.

The end of EU milk quotas

After three decades, the EU milk quota policy has come to an end – arguably the most important policy shift in the bloc’s agriculture regime in a generation. The quota was designed to ensure a decent standard of living for dairy farmers as well as fair prices for consumers.

But with the quota gone, the EU wants to cash in on the Asian market by exporting there. Where does that leave dairy producers in Greece? John Psaropoulos reports from Greece.

South Africa’s electricity crisis 

The South African government reckons that rolling power cuts are costing the economy up to $6.8bn a month; and activists are saying it is hurting people’s health too.

So what is the impact of South Africa’s electricity crisis? Is health being sacrificed for the economy?

Erica Wood reports from South Africa. And Julien Uhlig, the CEO of Entrade, talks about renewable energy and sustainable solutions.

India: Pensions for all

In India, a new pension programme has been created to help out low-income earners. It is noble in the extreme, a social security initiative which does not exclude society’s poorest.

Whichever scale you use, there are a lot of people in India living below the poverty line, hundreds of millions of them.

So in a country of a well over one billion people, can the Indian government actually afford this new pension programme? Faiz Jamil reports from India.