ECONOMY

Stournaras: A 50-year bond would ease our debt

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has suggested that a 50-year bond to replace existing debt would be a good idea.

“I hope we will have a 50-year bond,” Stournaras said on Monday night in a television interview. “That would mean that our debt would be considerably reduced across 50 years.”

The minister added that if Greece needs fresh loans, it would neither entail a new bailout agreement with the country’s creditors nor a default. Stournaras went on to express his optimism about the Greek economy, saying that “everything points to an improvement.”

He highlighted the 25-percent increase in competitiveness thanks to a rise in exports and the second straight year of the economy beating its targets but warned that Greece’s creditors will leave “when we are able to stand on our own in the markets.”

His statements came a few hours after the tabling in Parliament of the first draft of the 2014 budget, that provides for a return to growth, a primary surplus of about 2.4 billion euros and a return to the credit markets in the latter half of next year.

Stournaras also revealed that his ministry will table a regulation for the offsetting between state arrears and taxpayer debts to the state.

“The General State Accounting Office is examining that issue and it will not only concern the government but also other general government entities,” the minister said.

The finance chief admitted that suicides in Greece constitute a serious problem and that they are largely a result of the ongoing crisis but added that there is no other solution than the policy being followed.

“This phenomenon is not due to the tax raids, but rather to the fact that people have become unemployed as enterprises shut down due to the crisis,” he said.

“I know what it’s like living on 500 euros [a month]. There are people in my family and among my friends who live on very little money: my mother, my father-in-law, my mother-in-law. I know very well what that means,” said Stournaras.

The finance minister further said that the so-called Lagarde list of Greek depositors in the Swiss branches of HSBC bank remains under investigation, and that this is not the right time to discuss about the war reparation claims from Germany.