Greek premier Lucas Papademos, vice president and Finance minister Evangelos Venizelos and IIF president Charles Dallara had a long meeting on Friday that lasted long after midnight and when they finally called it a day, Venizelos said to the press “we will continue tomorrow”. As for government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis, he said that “technical and legal issues are still to be discussed”.
Dallara emerged expressionless from the negotiation session, but together with IIF co-president Jean Lemiere made a statement later on, saying, “The elements of an unprecedented voluntary PSI are coming into place. Now is the time to act decisively and seize the opportunity to finalize this historic deal and contribute to the economic stability of Greece, the euro area and the world economy.”
Apparently the debt swap agreement is not wrapped up yet since other, more credit-worthy EU countries have been asking for a lower average interest rate on the new bonds in order for the Greek debt viability to be considered assured.
According to protothema.gr, Germany, Holland, Luxemburg and Finland are aiming at a 3.5% bond interest rate instead of the 4.2% presently discussed. Agencies such as Bloomberg also reported the news.
Apart from the “live” meeting of the sides involved, there was a telephone conference as well and before that took place, the Greek premier had seen the Troika inspectors who first want to work out the PSI conclusion.
What seems solid for now is that Greece's debt is being swapped with new bonds of a 30-year maturity. Thus, during the first years the country will be paying the interest alone and progressively the capital, too.
The bench at the Athens stock market is doing well, giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the local financial world.
The paperwork is expected to last for weeks but granted that an agreement - even a preliminary one - is reached within this weekend, it will be discussed during the Monday EU FinMin session.