Saturday, April 9, 2011

EU's Rehn excludes Greek debt restructuring

BERLIN/GODOLLO, Hungary: A restructuring of Greek debt is out of the question, Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said on Saturday, April 9.

German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday that several euro zone finance ministers told European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet in a conference call last week they had doubts if Greece would meet its fiscal targets and suggested Athens should restructure its debt.

"We do exclude (a Greek debt) restructuring. We have a solid plan and we are working on the basis of that plan and it is based on careful analysis of debt sustainability," Rehn told a news conference, when asked about the German magazine report.

The Der Spiegel report said several finance ministers had said Athens would be unable to meet its fiscal targets and return to the markets for funding next year and asked if a debt restructuring for Greece would be sensible in view of the situation. But Trichet blocked the idea and said he was not willing to discuss it, Der Spiegel said.

Asked to comment on the magazine report, Trichet echoed Rehn's comments:

"On Greece, I would say we have a plan, that plan has been approved by the international community and approved by the European institutions and we apply the plan."

Der Spiegel said Rehn had told the EU Commission last week that any idea of a Greek restructuring, if it were to be required, should not be discussed in public but would simply happen at some point.

Der Spiegel said Trichet feared that a restructuring could damage confidence in the entire euro zone and could hit banks holding Greek debt hard.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble viewed Trichet's concerns about capital markets to be exaggerated and not credible, Der Spiegel said.

In Godollo, Hungary, where EU finance ministers and central bankers met on Saturday for a second day of informal talks, Schaeuble warned against fueling speculation in financial markets. Speculation over solutions to Greece's problems when it has to return to normal debt markets next year was not helpful, he said.

"We are at any moment ready to cooperatively find solutions to new problems," Schaeuble said.

"They are not advanced by speculative remarks." - Reuters

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