In 2012 with Greece on the verge of bankruptcy, fellow Eurozone states rallied round to rescue one of their own.

Part of the bailout package they agreed was to use almost 27 billion euros to buy up Greek debt to prevent a vicious circle that would see the country facing more and more expensive borrowing costs.

At the time, the countries agreed that they should not profit from this action and that the interest paid to them by Athens linked to the bonds they had bought should be returned.

To this day, that interest amounts to almost €8 billion (More precisely €7,838,000,000, according to an email sent by EU finance commissioner Pierre Muscovici to MEPs). Some of this money has been sent back to Greece but much of it remains in the hands of other European countries.

And they seem determined not to reveal how much.


The withholding of this money, according to Christopher Dembik, an economist at Saxo Bank, serves as a "kind of punishment" combined with a "means to pressure" Greece to fulfill its bailout obligations.

If Greece could get hold of the money, it would probably use it to pay back other debt, he added.

The question of whether the money ever makes it back to Athens could be decided in the second half of 2018 when the third part of the Greek bailout comes to an end.

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