Bloomberg News

EU Says Euro Meeting Logical When Greek Debt-Swap Deal Reached

February 03, 2012

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- A meeting of euro-area finance ministers “can and should” be convened once Greece has reached a debt-swap deal with its private creditors, said Amadeu Altafaj, a European Commission spokesman.

“It seems entirely logical to me that the finance ministers would be mobilized when there are sufficient elements for a conclusive discussion,” Altafaj told reporters in Brussels today. “When we have final clarity on the accord, on private-sector participation, we’ll have more elements on the table.”

Greece has reached agreement on the basic parameters of a debt swap with private creditors and is in the final stretch of talks with European Union and International Monetary Fund officials on a second rescue package, government spokesman Pantelis Kapsis said in an interview with Real FM radio today.

Creditors are prepared to accept an average coupon of as low as 3.6 percent on new 30-year bonds in the exchange, said a person familiar with the talks, who declined to be identified because a final deal hasn’t been struck yet. The aim is to cut Greece’s debt load to 120 percent of gross domestic product by 2020 from 162 percent in 2011. The alternative is an uncontrolled default that may lead to deeper losses and ripple effects throughout Europe.

Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, who leads the group of euro-area finance ministers, may announce today whether he’ll convene the group next week, his spokesman Guy Schuller said by text message.

German Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Kotthaus said the ministry has received no invitation yet to a possible meeting. European Union Economic and Monetary Commissioner Olli Rehn also hasn’t received an invitation, Altafaj said.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said the country is in the final stretch of negotiations for a second financing program that will place the economy on a sounder footing.

“We are in the final phase of this very critical process to shape a new financing program for Greece and to complete the loan agreement which will lighten the burden of public debt and ensure funding for years to come,” Papademos said in a statement posted on his website. The plan will help “restore fiscal stability, improve competitiveness, revive the economy and increase employment,” he said.

--With assistance from Josiane Kremer in Oslo, Natalie Weeks and Maria Petrakis in Athens, Jonathan Stearns in Brussels and Rainer Buergin in Berlin. Editors: Patrick G. Henry, Jones Hayden

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Clapham in Brussels at aclapham@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net


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