NEWS

Eurozone teleconference on Saturday to focus on Greece

Eurozone finance ministers are to participate in a teleconference on Saturday in a bid to narrow their differences regarding the best way to make Greece’s debt sustainable ahead of yet another crucial Eurogroup summit on Monday which, Athens hopes, will yield a decision for the release of vital rescue loans.

Initial reports on Friday suggested that the conference call would take place at 5.30 p.m. Greek time on Saturday though subsequent reports said the discussion might be pushed back to the evening.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who will sit join his 16 eurozone peers for the call on Saturday, said late on Thursday that just 10 billion euros are standing in the way of a deal on Greek debt sustainability. He added that eurozone ministers have aleady agreed on measures to reduce Greece’s debt to 130 percent of gross domestic product by 2020 and that a gap of between 5 and 6 percent of GDP, or 10 billion euros, remained to be covered.

Meanwhile Reuters quoted a ministry source as saying that foreign creditors are considering having the European Central Bank forego 9 billion euros of profits on its Greek debt as part of options to make the country’s debt sustainable. The lenders are also mulling cutting the interest rate and extending maturities on loans as well as a 10-billion-euro debt buyback by the government, the source told Reuters. The ministry has already begun preparations for the debt buyback, which could be completed by the end of the year if approved by eurozone finance ministers, the source was quoted as saying.