The Eurogroup has reached an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce Greek debt and potentially unlock 44 billion euro in aid at the next Eurogroup meeting on December 3. If the agreement is not finalized, Greece can still expect a lesser 31.5-billion-euro handout. According to ANSA sources, the IMF and European Central Bank (ECB) agreed on a new Greek debt target after lengthy meetings. An initial consolidation plan set the threshold at 120% of GDP by 2020. That figure can now stretch to 124%.
But the thorny issue of how to bring debt down is still under discussion. The question of who will shoulder the burden of losses from the new 'restructuring' of Greek debt is the main sticking point, sources say. Certain members of the IMF - particularly from the United States, want to see greater efforts made in the eurozone. According to the IMF, banks should lend a hand, accepting a loss of up to 90% on Greek bonds. Germany disagrees.
"Fresh cuts to Greek debt are not up for discussion - not for many Eurozone countries", German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said. The measures on the table include the ECB giving up five billion euro in earnings from Greek bonds which were bought two years ago at cut price. The effect would pour directly into Greek coffers, consequently cutting debt by 2-3%. At the same time the Eurozone would prune interest on bilateral loans, taking away a further 1.8%. Interest on debt with the EFSF bailout fund may be postponed for 10 years.