Finance chiefs wrangle over Greek aid talks

 
City A.M. Reporter
CRUNCH talks between Eurozone finance ministers dragged into the early hours of this morning as the Eurogroup strives to find a face-saving agreement over the next tranche of Greece’s bailout cash.

Ministers were considering allowing Athens to buy back up to €40bn of its own bonds at a discount as one of a number of measures to cut Greek debt to 120 per cent of GDP within the next eight years.

Going into the second ministerial meeting in successive weeks, Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of the Eurogroup, was cautiously optimistic of a deal being struck.

“We must still reach an understanding on several details and I would expect that the chances are good that we will come to a final and joint solution,” he said prior to last night’s talk. “But I’m not entirely certain [of reaching a deal tonight.”

His caution reflects the complex options being discussed, ongoing political differences and the sheer scale of reducing Greece’s debt pile.

Under a proposal discussed by ministers, Greece would offer private-sector bondholders around 30 cents for every euro of Greek debt they hold, allowing Athens to pay down some of its vast outstanding obligations, a senior official involved in the discussions told Reuters.