Report: Troika suggests further debt write-down for Greece
By Honor Mahony
Greece's lenders are suggesting a further write-down on the country's debt, according to Der Spiegel, with tax-payers to feel the hit for the first time.
The German news magazine Sunday (28 October) reported that experts from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - known as the troika - are pressing for Greece to receive more debt relief as it faces a deepening financial crisis.
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As part of Greece's second bailout agreed earlier this year, private investors, such as banks, agreed to write off more than 50 percent of the face value of their Greek bonds. This time round public sector bondholders, such as member states holding Greek debt, are being asked to chip in.
The European Central Bank - also a public sector bondholder with around €40bn in Greek debt - would not be involved as accepting a loss on its bonds would constitute a form of state financing that is illegal for the eurozone bank. The IMF would also not be part of a debt relief deal.
Greece should also get an extra two years to bring its budget into order with the delayed deadline to cost a further €30bn according to European Commission estimates and up to €38bn according to the IMF.
In return for any debt relief, Greece would have to carry out a further 150 reforms, reports the weekly, including making hiring and firing rules more flexible and changing the minimum wage.
Greece needs a positive assessment from the troika in order to receive the next tranche (€31.5bn) of bailout money. The troika report is due 12 November at the latest while Athens has said it will run out of money to pay its bills on 16 November.
But Athens' lenders have been getting increasingly frustrated with the country as it struggles to impose further cost-cutting measures on the back of four years of recession.
Der Spiegel notes that Greece has managed 60 percent of the reforms demanded of it, while 20 percent of the measures are being debated by the government and 20 percent are unmet.
Eurozone finance ministers are due to discuss Greece at a teleconference on Wednesday (31 October) before meeting face-to-face on 12 November when key financial decisions are meant to be taken.
Germany, lending the most to Greece and facing a general election next year, has already rejected the debt hair-cut idea.
"That is a discussion which has little to do with the reality in the member states of the eurozone," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told public radio Deutschlandfunk.