Germany, France press for swift Greek debt deal

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Germany, France press for swift Greek debt deal

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As eurozone finance ministers meet in Brussels, Germany and France say they want Greece to reach a deal quickly with its private creditors that will cut its massive debt to sustainable levels.

Talks are going on to convince the banks and investment funds to accept big losses on their loans to Greece

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said: “On PSI (private sector involvement), we act always in line with our institutional partners. We have very constructive co-operation with the private sector and we are ready to finalise the procedure on time.”

Later in Athens, a finance ministry official said that Greece aims to submit a final debt swap offer to its private sector bondholders by February 13.

Athens and its creditors have reportedly come close to a deal with private bondholders taking a loss — or haircut — of 65 to 70 percent on the Greek government bonds they bought.

But some believe Greece’s fate is sealed. Analyst Robert Halver, with Baader Bank, said: “Even a 100 percent haircut of the Greek debt would not be a sustainable solution for Greece. Because Greece has no chance to survive the eurozone with the euro currency. The best way would be for the Greeks to go out of the eurozone, do their homework (for) about 10 years and come back.”

The ministers said they remained committed to a second EU bailout for Greece but were waiting to see the terms of the country’s debt restructuring

That involves swapping existing Greek government bonds for new, longer-term bonds, but depends on cutting Greece’s debt mountain to levels that European governments believe are sustainable

Fresh bailout money is needed before March to avert a disastrous default.