NEWS

Greek FinMin eyes ‘universal participation’ in PSI

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos is confident that the country can secure ?universal participation? in the debt swap scheme following the extension of its offer until March 23, he told CNBC in an interview on Monday.

?The market knows very well that this offer is unique, it?s a very good and profitable offer. This is (an) absolutely constructive proposal not only from the part of Greece, but also from the part of the so-called official sector,? he told the American news network.

Greece on Friday reached an unprecedented bond swap between the government and private investors, which would relieve Greece of more than 100 billion euros of its debt burden, with 83.5 percent of its creditors signing up to the deal by last Thursday’s deadline.

Greece said that it would activate collective action clauses (CACs), enforcing losses of about 75 percent on investors who refused to participate. This would take the total participation in the bond swap to 95.7 percent, as Greece needs a participation rate of between 95 and 100 percent to secure a new bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund worth 130 billion euros.

Venizelos told CNBC that the technical default declared by the International Association of Swaps and Derivatives (ISDA) was not important for Greece, also challenging claims that Greece will end up needing a third bailout as it tries to cope with unpopular austerity measures.

?The credit event and triggering of the CDS (credit default swap) is something internal. This is a kind of dealing room between banks and financial entities. It?s not something important for us as a real economy,? Venizelos said.

The Greek finance minister over the weekend, meanwhile, announced his candidacy for a leadership race in the PASOK socialist party, ahead of general elections expected to take place in April.

?Greek society now after a very long period of sacrifices needs something, a good word, a positive indication,? Venizelos said. ?And now, after the (private-sector involvement in the debt restructuring) and after the beginning of the implementation of the new program, we have a new starting point. This is my proposal for our people: to regain our institutional position within the European family,? he told CNBC.

Eurozone finance ministers are due to meet in Brussels on Monday to take the final decision on Greece?s new bailout in what is likely to be Venizelos?s last participation in such a meeting following his candidacy.