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Samaras raises alarm about lack of liquidity, threat to democracy

Greek leader Antonis Samaras told a German paper in an interview published on Friday his country could not manage beyond November without the next tranche of international aid and suggested the ECB could help by easing the terms of its Greek debt holdings.

"The key is liquidity. That is why the next credit tranche is so important for us,» Samaras told the business daily Handelsblatt. Asked how long Greece could manage without it, he said: «Until the end of November. Then the cash box is empty."

The European Central Bank could help by accepting lower interest rates on its existing Greek debt holdings «or it could approve a rollover when these bonds mature», he said.

"I could also imagine the recapitalization of Greek banks as is being considered for Spain, which would be not accounted for on its state debts but carried out directly via the ESM. That would be a significant relief,» said Samaras.

However, in a press conference on Thursday, ECB president Mario Draghi said that a rollover of the Greek debt held by the central bank would be considered “monetary financing” of Greece and therefore against the lender’s regulations.

In his interview with Handelsblatt, Samaras also stressed the fragile political and social situation in Greece, likening it to Germany’s Weimar Republic.

The prime minister stressed the importance of high unemployment and the rise of neofascist Golden Dawn as destabilizing factors.

"Greek democracy is perhaps facing its biggest challenge,» he said.

Samaras said that if the coalition government fails in its task, “chaos awaits” for the country.

The premier also suggested that Chancellor Angela Merkel is “always welcome” to visit Athens. “We greatly appreciate that Germany and the Europeans are helping us at this difficult time,” he said.

[Reuters & Kathimerini]

ekathimerini.com , Friday October 5, 2012 (10:23)  
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