Exclusive: Greece does not need third bailout, seeks debt 'reprofiling' - deputy PM

Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:14am EDT
 
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By Daniel Bases, Stephen Adler and Dina Kyriakidou

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Greece does not require a third bailout and can cover its needs without further burdening its current backers, by improving the terms of its debt and possibly returning to the bond market next year, the country's deputy prime minister said on Wednesday.

Evangelos Venizelos, who is also foreign minister in a coalition government, is determined not to impose losses on Greece's European Union partners and the International Monetary Fund, which have pulled the troubled country from the brink of bankruptcy with about 240 billion euros ($325 billion) so far.

"We understand very, very well how difficult it is for every government to accept debt relief. ... Our demand is not debt relief. It is additional reprofiling without problem, without additional burden for our institutional partners," Venizelos said in an interview with top editors at Reuters in New York.

His comments came days after elections in Germany, whose support to Greece came in exchange for waves of austerity measures that have created political and social turmoil across the Mediterranean nation.

The Greek debt crisis shook the euro zone and global financial markets and plunged the country into a recession, now in its sixth year. Unemployment hovers near 28 percent nationally and at about 60 percent for young adults.

"We are talking about the potential for a lost generation here," Venizelos said, adding that the prospect of a social explosion if Greek citizens are forced to endure more fiscal austerity was the biggest risk for the country.

"It is not possible to implement new fiscal measures. It is not possible to impose new cuts on wages and pensions," he said.

He said the rise of the far-right Golden Dawn party, which last year entered the 300-seat parliament for the first time, and won 18 seats in June elections, was a product of the crisis.   Continued...

 
Evangelos Venizelos, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, talks during an editorial board meeting at the Reuters Headquarters during the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Joshua Lott