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Greece will most likely haircut its debt to creditor countries

17 September 2012 / 18:09:37  GRReporter
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I would say that the issue of growth is purely an internal matter for the country. And how we couldachieve higher rates of growth depends on the politics of our country and to some extent, on the course of the general economic situation in Europe and the world, which, as you know, is not positive and does not promise a bright future in the coming years. A recession in Europe is envisaged, which means that international demand is not expected to be high. So, in addition to the condition for development, in addition to the condition for recovery of public finances - because the budget should not continue to generate deficits, we should move to primary surpluses. In addition to these two conditions, I do not find the reduction of interest rate unachievable, because it is a matter subject to negotiations, an issue that could easily be placed on the table of talks with our creditors and could eventually become a reality. Second, with regard to privatization, we believe that the amount of 15 billion euro is reasonable; it is not excessive and can be achieved. Third, we think that it might be more difficult and it would require negotiations at European level in order for the debt of banks, recapitalization of banks to go through ESM - ESFP. Something similar is expected to happen in Spain and then, Greece would not be an exception and it would want to be included in the rule. Therefore, something like this is possible but negotiations are necessary to make it happen. And of course, the rescheduling of fiscal consolidation, which we did not mention. Personally, I think it is almost certain that it would be allowed. Remember that we are now talking about the 2013 budget, which must take into account all deviations from the targets in 2012. Therefore, the objectives cannot be achieved in 2012 and they will be transferred to the next period. Anyway, the extension of the programme is something that is being discussed and I think it is achievable. What would be extremely difficult, of course, is OSI, because it means a new round of negotiations to reduce the debt by haircutting. It is something that will have many opponents in Europe and unfortunately, there is no way to know now whether a similar proposal would be approved. However, I believe that it is worthwhile one trying it, to see if it's possible.

Will there be consequences from OSI for the country or will the effect only be positive? We remember that things were not so simple with the PSI. There was a debt haircut but there were problems for banks, insurance funds.

Yes, you're right. We are actually talking about cutting the portfolio of those holding Greek debt. In the case of OSI, we are talking about the official sector, not about the private sector, which means that there will certainly be implications for the public finances of countries holding a Greek debt, which would see the value of this debt melting in their portfolios. It would allow the Greek economy to take a deep breath having in mind that the official sector holds a debt of over 50 billion euro. Therefore, as regards the Greek economy, the effects would be very positive and if we talk about the countries holding the debt, they would have to take a smaller "harvest," if you like, of the Greek debt in their portfolios.
You said that growth is Greece’s internal problem. Economics gives a very clear solution, a recipe for how to achieve growth in the economy - lower interest rates, lower taxes, foreign investment and market liberalization. Why cannot this formula be applied in Greece?

Tags: Giannis MonogiosGreek debtOSIPSIGREXITInternational creditorsDebt interest ratesEconomic growth
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