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Greek Finance Minister hails 'historic' debt deal

Greek Finance Minister hails 'historic' debt deal
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The Greek finance minister has hailed the bond swap deal that has enabled his country to avoid imminent bankrupcty.

The government says well over 80 percent of private creditors have backed a plan that leaves the path clear for a new international bailout worth 130 billion euros from the EU, ECB and IMF.

It aims to use the law to force unwilling investors to participate.

In parliament the Finance Minister
Evangelos Venizelos said it was a historic day for the people and the national economy. The deal had an extremely high degree of success and exceeded all expectations, he said.

“The Greek people will understand that the debt swap deal is the best and most efficient method to solve the economy’s problems.”

In order to cut the national debt drastically, private investors are accepting huge losses in exchange for new bonds. Greece now looks ready to receive the first batch of bailout funds.

“It is more than expected and I think it is a
resounding success. It is very important, not
the transaction ‘per se’, but the fact that this is the beginning of the restoration of confidence in the economy,” said financial analyst Michalis Massourakis.

On the streets, some are angry at what they see as one rule for the government, another for ordinary people.

“They chase people for owing 100 euros to a bank, yet those who owe billions are exempt? Aren’t they ashamed of themselves? I spit on them,” said one man.

“It’s good for them. What about for us? Nothing! Everyone’s left to fend for himself. In a while people will be on the streets.” said another.

The unemployment rate – a record 21 per cent in December – is twice the eurozone average; more than half of young people are out of work.

Austerity measures ordered by international creditors have fuelled many people’s anger.

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