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Dijsselbloem says Greek debt relief 'after summer' may include extending loans

By Corina Ruhe

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Greece’s international creditors will decide after the summer on possible further aid, including extending the maturity of existing loans.

Greece’s economic situation is improving, and this has an impact on calculations of the country’s debt sustainability, Dijsselbloem said in an interview aboard a Dutch government airplane en route to Cyprus late yesterday.

“After the summer we will review everything,” he said. If Greece fulfills the requirements set by its international creditors, including a primary budget surplus, and debt sustainability remains a problem, “we are prepared to do more,” he said.

“What is more? A number of examples have been given, including longer maturities or a further reduction of the interest rate,” he said. “But it also depends on how economic growth evolves.”

Dijsselbloem said he’s hopeful that euro-area finance ministers can reach a positive decision on the next aid payments to Greece at a meeting in Athens on April 1.

“A bit more than 8 billion euros is now foreseen,” Dijsselbloem said. “I don’t know yet. The troika will also advise on the amount needed.”

Dijsselbloem said Greece’s return to the markets is a wise decision.

“But you must also be able to manage expectations,” he said. “So it starts carefully. Portugal is doing the same, slowly. Ireland as well. Slowly you issue bonds. First short term and then gradually longer term,” he said. “I think it’s good they start this year.”

[Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Monday March 31, 2014 (11:15)  
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