Friday August 1, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
24o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Asmussen urges Germany to reach compromise on Greek debt

The top German at the European Central Bank urged his own country on Thursday to compromise in a stand-off over aid to Greece after officials said Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had hinted at possible debt forgiveness, then backtracked.

Germany, the EU's biggest economy and paymaster, has led resistance within the euro zone to calls from the IMF and others to accept losses on their Greek debt holdings and give Greece, entering its sixth year of recession, a chance to grow again.

Greece's international creditors will hold crunch talks next Monday - their third meeting in as many weeks - to unlock loans needed to avert bankruptcy for the stricken nation. The EU's top economic official said on Thursday a deal could be struck.

"Those who want to avoid a haircut of public creditors and see that as a red line, must be ready to move on other issues, ECB board member Joerg Asmussen was quoted as saying in Germany's Passauer Neue Presse.

"Everyone must show a willingness to move as that's the only way we can come to a result next Monday."

Schaeuble reiterated on Thursday his official view that a writedown of Greek debt by euro zone governments would be wrong and illegal. But two sources told Reuters he had signalled a more flexible attitude at a small gathering of ministers in Paris on Monday, before the failed talks in Brussels on Tuesday.

"I understand... that some kind of 'conditional debt relief' was suggested by Schaeuble, but that he had to backtrack, one euro zone source said of the Paris meeting. A second source confirmed his account.

The German finance ministry declined comment on the suggestion that Schaeuble had backtracked.

The second source said Schaeuble had referred to a speech last week by the head of Germany's central bank, Jens Weidmann, signalling possible support for debt relief for Greece in the future as a reward for implementing tough reforms.

"One can pose the question whether the leap of faith that you give (with a haircut) sets the right incentives or whether it would not make sense to set a haircut, which one will need in the end to regain capital market access, as a perspective for when the reforms... have been implemented, Weidmann said.

The Bundesbank chief suggested any debt forgiveness could only come in 2015 or later, as a reward if Greece carries out its tough adjustment programme. That would also be after German general elections in September 2013.

EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn gave a similar hint when he told the European Parliament on Thursday that Greece's debt sustainability could be reassessed in the coming years if it sticks to its programme.

The second euro zone source said officials were discussing the option of different member states taking separate measures to help Greece - a sign that the divide between the creditors may be just too big to forge a common stance.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Schaeuble have both raised such a prospect in the past couple of days.

Schaeuble said on Thursday a 'haircut' for public holders of Greek debt would end up harming Greece by blocking further aid.

"The moment we decide to give Greece a haircut, we cannot give Greece any new guarantees, Schaeuble told a conference.

"That is logical because the budget law rightly says you can only take on guarantees if you believe that the debt will be paid back, so you can't do both, he added.

Members of Merkel's centre-right coalition have said granting Greece debt relief would undermine the reform drive in other struggling euro zone countries such as Portugal.

Schaeuble said on Wednesday the funding gap could be funded by a mixture of letting Greece buy back its own debt at a discount, tapping ECB profits on Greek bond purchases and lowering interest rates on government loans to Athens, though not below the cost to lenders.

Rehn said Greece had taken all the reform steps required to receive its next 31 billion euro tranche of loans and finance ministers should be able to sign off on a deal next week.

"I trust everyone will reconvene in Brussels on Monday with the necessary constructive spirit, and move beyond the detrimental mindset of red lines, he told parliament.

"Frankly, I see no reason why we should not be able to conclude the package - and do away with the uncertainty that has been holding back a return of confidence, and thus of investment and growth, in Greece."

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Thursday November 22, 2012 (20:01)  
Greek bond yields dip as investors anticipate ratings upgrade
Greek exporters worried about impact of Russia sanctions
Traders unhappy with turnover
No rivals for Intralot as it bags racing bet permit
Jean-Claude Juncker to make first official visit to Athens on Monday
European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker is expected in Athens on Monday, where he will be meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the Commission announced on Frida...
Britons stranded at sea off Zakynthos towed to safety
Four British tourists who went missing late on Thursday off the coast of the Ionian island of Zakynthos were found safe and sound in the early hours of Friday. The group of Britons had hired...
Inside News
SOCCER
One win and one loss in Europa League
Greece had a hit and a miss in the first-leg games for the third qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday, as Atromitos scored a 2-1 win at Sarajevo while Asteras Tripolis lost 1-0 ...
SOCCER
Goalless draw at Liege puts Greens in driving seat
Panathinaikos got the upper hand in the battle for entry to the Champions League playoffs after snatching a goalless draw at Standard Liege on Wednesday. If anything, the Greek cup holders m...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
In trying to conquer, Putin unites Europe
President Vladimir Putin is obliged to feign indifference to the sanctions that the European Union and the United States imposed on Russia this week. But, being the player that he is, he mus...
EDITORIAL
Our own worst enemies
A new study has come to exemplify the cliche notion that Greeks find it easier to excel abroad, where they fare much better than they do at home. According to research by epidemiologist John...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Jean-Claude Juncker to make first official visit to Athens on Monday
2. Britons stranded at sea off Zakynthos towed to safety
3. Greek bond yields dip as investors anticipate ratings upgrade
4. Human rights watchdog criticizes decision to file Farmakonisi case
5. Greek exporters worried about impact of Russia sanctions
6. Greece evacuates embassy staff, foreign nationals from Libya
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greece evacuates embassy staff, foreign nationals from Libya
2. Greek exporters worried about impact of Russia sanctions
3. Human rights watchdog criticizes decision to file Farmakonisi case
4. Greek bond yields dip as investors anticipate ratings upgrade
5. Britons stranded at sea off Zakynthos towed to safety
6. Jean-Claude Juncker to make first official visit to Athens on Monday
Today
This Week
1. Wine cup used by Pericles found in grave north of Athens
2. Quadriplegic woman on life support 'dies due to unpaid power bills'
3. Defense Minister Avramopoulos to represent Greece at European Commission
4. Worlds largest solar boat on Greek mission
5. Greece names fifth privatization agency chief in four years
6. What lessons can we draw from antiquity?
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.