Weidmann: Greek debt relief is not urgent

Weidmann: Greek debt relief is not urgent

Greece faces relatively low debt servicing needs in the coming years and further debt relief is not a matter of urgency, Greek financial daily Naftemporiki quoted European Central Bank Governing Council member Jens Weidmann as saying on Thursday.

“In 2014 interest payments as a percentage of GDP were lower in Greece than in Spain, Portugal and Italy,” Weidmann, head of Germany’s central bank, told the paper.

“Taking into account the low refinancing needs for the next years, further debt relief does not seem to be an issue of particularly urgent interest.”

Athens has been struggling to legislate reforms agreed with its eurozone partners in exchange for an 86-billion-euro bailout, the third financial aid package to keep it afloat since its debt crisis exploded in 2010.

The government, however, wants some form of debt relief to allow for future growth.

Weidmann said the most important task at hand was the full implementation of the agreed economic adjustment program of reforms.

“This will not simply increase the ability to grow but also dissolve prevailing uncertainty which acts as a brake for investments,” he told the paper.

Weidmann added it was up to the Greek government to decide when to lift capital controls it imposed in late June to stem a flight of deposits.


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