Arab Today, arab today greece in talks on eurozone bailout debt rollover
Last Updated : GMT 06:51:55
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Greece in talks on eurozone bailout, debt rollover

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Arab Today, arab today Greece in talks on eurozone bailout, debt rollover

Athens - AFP

Greece was holding tightrope talks on Monday with its creditors and debt holders on details of a new eurozone bailout to enable the country to repay debt. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was meeting senior auditors from the eurozone, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, his office said, ahead of talks with a bank lobby group which has agreed in principle to take a big cut in debt repayments. \"There will be negotiations on the new programme,\" a finance ministry source said, referring to the eurozone lifeline accorded to Greece in late October which includes a 50-percent writedown on the country\'s short and medium-term debt in agreement with banks. Venizelos was then scheduled at 1200 GMT to meet Institute of International Finance chief Charles Dallara, who represents global banks on the writedown, or so-called \"haircut\", talks. The minister has warned of \"a hard battle ahead\" under \"very difficult conditions in Europe and the world.\" But a banking expert speaking to leading Greek newspaper Kathimerini said on condition of anonymity that, given \"the uncertainty in the eurozone, the deal with creditors will become more and more difficult.\" The Greek state will pay advisory investment bankers Lazard 0.015 percent of the nominal value debt exchanged or regained under the rollover -- an expected maximum of 25 million euros -- in return for expert advice. And international law firm Cleary, Gottlieb and Hamilton will be given at least six million euros in compensation for related advice, according to a finance ministry announcement picked up in Monday reports. Greek reports said the mission representatives from the eurozone, ECB and IMF, or troika, were also expected to discuss a new tax code to be put to parliament by next month and a private sector pay freeze to cut operating costs. Cuts to bonus pensions will also be on the agenda, the reports said. The finance ministry declined to comment. The head of an EU task force assisting Greece with structural reforms, Horst Reichenbach, is also arriving Monday for a three-day visit for meetings with Greek minister, the European Commission said. In a report issued in mid-November, Reichenbach\'s team said it was reviewing Greek public administration changes \"to ensure effective coordination\" and was providing technical assistance to help implement the recovery plan. The task force will also help Greece with a massive privatisation drive that has fallen greatly behind schedule. The eurozone decided in October to accord Greece a new loan of 130 billion euros ($174 billion) of which 30 billion will be used to recapitalise banks sustaining losses to their books owing to the debt rollover. An initial loan of 110 billion euros, spread over three years, was accorded to Athens in 2010. Greece has already received 73 billion euros of that money. The aim of the latest deal is to wipe off 100 billion euros of Greek debt and to bring it down to 120 percent of Gross Domestic Product by 2020, from the current level of more than 160 percent. The revised adjustment programme to be finalised by January will bind Greece for the next three years, Greek PM Lucas Papademos said last week. Greece this week will also seek to raise 1.25 billion euros in a batch of six-month treasury bills, its first such auction in a month. Athens was forced to seek EU-IMF bailouts last year after markets turned against it because of inaccurate deficit data and a massive, unsustainable debt mountain of more than 350 billion euros ($470 billion). On Friday, European Union leaders banded together to back tighter budget policing in a desperate bid to save the eurozone which was spurned by Britain. After years of foot-dragging on deepening integration, 26 of the 27 EU states signalled their willingness to join a \"new fiscal compact\" to resolve the crisis threatening to crack apart the monetary union. But the deal came with a heavy political price when non-eurozone Britain resisted a Franco-German drive to enshrine new budget rules in a modified EU treaty. The new deal, to be adopted by March through an intergovernmental agreement, was put to the entire 27-nation bloc in the interests of maintaining unity.  

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