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Politics: FinMin: Greece will weather debt crisis

Δημοσίευση 5 Ιανουαρίου 2011, 11:36 / Ανανεώθηκε 27 Ιουνίου 2013, 14:55
Politics: FinMin: Greece will weather debt crisis
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Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday categorically rejected specu-lation over a debt restructuring with creditors, and said Greece would weather out the debt crisis, helped by privatization of state assets worth seven billion euros.

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Tuesday categorically rejected specu-lation over a debt restructuring with creditors, and said Greece would weather out the debt crisis, helped by privatization of state assets worth seven billion euros.

In an interview with Reuters, the Greek FinMin said the country has cut its debt and has met all obligations towards the IMF and the European Union in return for a 110-billion-euros bailout, and noted that the government was also promoting structural reforms.

He also denied reports that Greece was in talks with debt holders for extending the repayment period of the country’s existing debt.

“There are no such talks,” Papaconstantinou said, dismissing reports that Greece was in talks with creditor banks. “This would not help Greece, the Greek economy, Greek banks, Greek citizens or the European problem,” he noted.

He stressed that Greece was making steady progress on cutting its fiscal deficit and was promoting unpopular reforms to ensure payment of the fourth tranche of a troika loan, worth 15 billion euros in March.

“We finished 2010 on target, with reforms meeting the time schedule,” Papaconstantinou said, adding that there was no reason to doubt for the next tranche, or any other tranche of the loan, “as long as we did our job correctly”.

He said privatisation proceeds were expected to total 1.0 billion euros this year, with an additional six billion euros expected in 2012-2013, including airports, public sector enterprises, real estate property and gaming. “We will use a very flexible methodology. We have a revenue target but was more important was to have the expertise and the dynamism that private investments would bring to these sectors. He reiterated that Greece would seek a return to capital markets this year, depending on market conditions, along with the issuance of a Diaspora bond loan to Greeks living abroad.

Papaconstantinou said talks with China over the purchase of Greek state bonds were progressing, but declined to say anything more specific over the amount or the time of the deal. He noted that Greece would like an extension of repaying its IMF/EU loans to cover not only outstanding tranches but those already paid. The European Commission was positive over this request but we have to wait for Eurogroup’s final decisions, Papaconstantinou said.

Additionally, he sounded optimistic that the European Union would reach an agreement over joint issuance of euro bonds.