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Germany says Greece 'could cut debt by EUR 20bn': report

16 July 2011, 23:39 CET
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(BERLIN) - Germany's finance minister believes Greece could slice 20 billion euros ($28 billion) of its massive debt burden by buying back its own bonds, according to the weekly Der Spiegel, due out Monday.

This scenario, one of several it envisaged, was the one the ministry thought most likely to win consensus in Europe, the weekly added.

The European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) could lend the money to Greece so it could buy back bonds from private creditors at market prices, Der Spiegel reported.

Thanks to its AAA status with the ratings agency, the EFSF could easily raise the money required in the markets then lend it to Greece at favourable rates it can longer find on the open market.

European sources told AFP that this scenario has been put forward during recent talks between eurozone leaders.

Another German proposal would involve the exchange of existing Greek bonds for ones that mature over a longer period.

Eurozone nations will hold an extraordinary summit on July 21 in Brussels to discuss how to tackle the debt crisis and provide fresh aid for Greece, EU president Herman Van Rompuy announced on Friday.

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