ECONOMY

Bonds could be rolled over to 2024

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos confirmed on Wednesday that the program for private sector involvement (PSI) in Greece?s second bailout package will include bonds maturing after 2020, as the original eurozone decision had provided for last month.

Sources suggest that the program will include bonds maturing up to 2024, so as to take private sector participation up to 135 billion euros.

However, for PSI to take effect, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) will need to be able to offer guarantees to the private companies that will swap their old Greek bonds for new ones, and the European Commission is trying to bypass the time-consuming process of ratification by national parliaments.

There will be renewed negotiations between representatives of eurozone finance ministries on Thursday, including talks regarding the course of the PSI program, after it was made known yesterday that Dutch banks and insurance companies will also be participating.

Germany and France are expected to approve the broadening of the competences of the EFSF in special sessions of their national parliaments, sending a message to fellow eurozone countries to follow suit. If this does not happen, there is widespread worry that it will be October before all parliaments approve the European Union summit decisions, resulting in a further delay in the new package for Athens.

?We are trying to make the most of the deterioration of the international conjunction in order to have the package of decisions from July applied rapidly and to the full,? stated Venizelos.

Greece is eager to see the process start as soon as possible as it would stand to receive 20 billion euros in September through the new mechanism, while the sixth tranche of the existing mechanism would amount to 8 billion.

The 20-billion-euro injection would ease the state?s cash flow problem at this stage and allow it to operate properly.

Either way, however, the funding is secured, government officials are stressing.