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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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No one can know for sure, but it is quite clear bearing in mind the course of things. We are in the middle of September, Greece must submit a viable cost reduction programme worth 11.5 billion euro or about 5.5% of GDP, so that the total government's cost of 88 billion euro falls to 77 billion. Let me remind you that 77 billion euro was the cost in the Greek budget for 2003 or 2004 if I'm not mistaken. Therefore, we need to reach those levels. This is the first step.
    The second step is to negotiate with the creditors that these measures are acceptable and can be applied. The third step is that a revised medium-term fiscal strategy until 2016 should be prepared, which will include the targets set for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The budget for 2013 must be prepared, which must include what has been planned in the medium term. Most importantly, the tranche amounting to 31 billion euro will have to be secured. Part of it, a large part of it, will be for the recapitalization of banks and the state will use the rest to repay some of its debts to the private sector or to support the budget.
    These are the basic steps. Without them, I think it will be very difficult for Greece to move forward. The tranche of 31 billion euro is necessary and if we have fulfilled our obligations, we must discuss with our European partners whether it would be possible and achievable to look for ways to make the Greek debt serviceable. If these steps are performed steadily, carefully, systematically, we might be able to ensure that Greece would not reach the point at which the crisis could no longer be resolved.
    This is largely a matter of European Union policy; it is not exclusively a problem of Greece. It depends on how our European partners will support us in this process. Therefore, to answer your question, no one can be sure how close or how far away this day could be. I can merely say that if the conditions we have just discussed are not met, this day will be very close, whereas if they are implemented, it may never come.

What would the so-called GREXIT mean for the Greek debt?

GREXIT is a term that describes the exit of Greece from the euro zone. A Greek exit from the euro zone, although theoretical, cannot be excluded and it is an eventuality that would have negative consequences for both sides. For the Greek side, which would leave the European family, but for the very European family itself as well. Do not forget that the European Union and the euro zone in particular are interconnected vessels - what happens in one part of the Union spreads throughout the European Union. Therefore, a possible, a hypothetical, if you will, exit of Greece from the euro zone would cause many problems for everyone.
    First, after Greece leaves the euro zone it would have to return to its own currency, to a currency that it would have to use in its transactions. As you can see, being an economy with collapsed production structures and without the production base we had in the past it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to compete with international products and services. Therefore, in this case, the currency that would appear after the euro would have to compete successfully with other currencies in international markets. And it could happen only through currency devaluation.
    But we should bear in mind that we are in the process of internal devaluation as a country, due to the reduction of salaries in the range of 25% to 27% within 2-3 years. Another devaluation of the currency would have very serious social consequences. To put it simply, the money available to a person would not be enough to make a living. It would be enough only for the first 2-3 days after receiving the remuneration. After that, other scenarios to make a living would be necessary. So, the exit of a state from the euro zone would open "Pandora's box" because it would start to "unravel Europe's sweater," according to some people. Other European countries would not remain unaffected either. The single currency, the euro, is likely to be under pressure and would be seriously undermined if a state left it. Huge accounting problems would have accrued - how to transfer all accounts and how to convert them into the new currency.
    Our debts would be in a foreign currency, a third stronger currency, which means that the value of our debt, especially if devalued, would further increase and servicing it would become even more difficult. I think this scenario is catastrophic. I do not think that it is a scenario that could offer the solution to our country or to Europe in general. I also think that the consequences of such a development would reach the other side of the world, America and Asia, as the local markets there are directly related to the European ones. Therefore, I do not think this is a scenario that would have a positive aspect, as we understand it. On the contrary, it would have serious negative consequences for the economy - the Greek, European, but for the world economy too.

How do you see the problem with the debt crisis at European level?

Tags: Giannis MonogiosGreek debtOSIPSIGREXITInternational creditorsDebt interest ratesEconomic growth
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