• Germany edition
 
Greece gets billions after debts written down
Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble. Photo: DPA

Greece gets billions after debts written down

Published: 09 Mar 2012 16:58 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Mar 2012 16:58 GMT+01:00

Wolfgang Schäuble spoke at a press conference in Berlin after a telephone conference call with the Eurogroup to take stock of private investor acceptance of a Greek debt swap.

The swap, which was taken up by 83.5 percent of Greece's private creditors, was needed for the release of a €130 billion, second aid package from eurozone partners for Athens to help it avert a default.

The rest of the funding, €94.5 billion, is essentially loans to Athens and would probably be released next week, Schäuble said, when "formal conditions" are met, something which is not in doubt.

"We are not out of the woods but we have taken an important big step," Schäuble said.

European leaders are now waiting for the International Monetary Fund to say how much it will contribute to the second aid programme for Greece.

The private investor acceptance of a Greek debt swap was a historic chance to stabilise Greece, officials said, but analysts warned that this was not the end of the Greek drama.

The head of Eurogroup eurozone finance ministers Jean-Claude Juncker said the "elements were now in place" to proceed with final approval for a second bailout for Greece.

"I welcome the significant progress achieved in the preparation of the second Greek adjustment programme," Juncker said.

EU Economics Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said he was "very satisfied" with the participation by private investors in the voluntary debt swap adding that the result was a "decisive contribution to financial stability in the euro area as a whole."

IMF head: eurozone crisis risk removed

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, before the official take-up rate was announced, said the risk of crisis in the eurozone had been "removed" for now.

Lagarde said that the "real risk of a crisis, of an acute crisis, has been, for the moment, removed."

She later called the deal "an important step that will dramatically reduce Greece's medium-term financing needs and contribute to debt sustainability."

Deutsche Bank head Josef Ackermann, who chairs the Institute of International Finance which negotiated the deal on behalf of major private creditors, said the swap was a "very strong and positive result".

It provided a "major opportunity for Greece to move ahead with its economic reform program" and strengthened the eurozone's "ability to create an economic environment of stability and growth", Ackermann said.

Analysts also expressed some relief at the successful exchange, but warned that it still left Greek government debt at an unsustainably high level.

Siemens agrees deal with Greece

The German economics ministry said on Friday that a deal between German electronics giant Siemens and Greece to end a decade-old bribery scandal was an "encouraging" first sign of economic cooperation.

The €270 million ($357 million) deal, announced on Thursday in Athens and which must still be ratified by the Greek parliament, is "a first important, cheering and encouraging sign", a German ministry spokesman said.

The Greek government last year demanded compensation from Siemens, which has admitted using a slush fund to obtain foreign contracts.

The deal includes Siemens paying €90 million to the Greek government to help it fight corruption and €80 million to help it pay off debts.

The German group would also "invest €100 million in Greece in 2012", and would "examine the possibility of setting up a €60 million production plant" in the country, the Greek finance ministry said.

However, while the deal settles the question of "administrative fines", it does not close the door to judicial prosecution.

Siemens declined to comment on the deal.

AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:31 March 12, 2012 by luckylongshot
At least this is bringing out the best political theatrics we have seen for a while. The scene is that absolutely noone believes Greece can be saved and historical proof is that this situation has occurred around 3000 times in history and so far fiat currencies have failed 3000 times. Not to be deterred our self congratulating politicians beat their chests and make statesmanlike comments about how the Euro can be saved. It is a shame these guys cannot be entered into the Oscars...that is about the only thing they could do where I would vote for them.
Today's headlines
Bundesbank warns of ECB 'change of course'
Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann: Photo: DPA

Bundesbank warns of ECB 'change of course'

The head of Germany's powerful Bundesbank sharply criticised what he called a radical new approach by the European Central Bank of easy money, in an interview published Sunday. READ  

MH17 Crash
Families of German MH17 victims to sue
Australian and Dutch investigators examine a piece of debris of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane. Photo: EPA/DPA/ Igor Kovalenko

Families of German MH17 victims to sue

Relatives of German victims of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 plan to sue Ukraine and its president for criminal negligence for not closing the country's airspace, a lawyer said Sunday. READ  

Sport
Wonder goal puts new boys Paderborn on top
Paderborn players celebrate after defeating Hanover 2-0 to go top of the Bundesliga. Photo: DPA

Wonder goal puts new boys Paderborn on top

Promoted Paderborn went top of the Bundesliga helped by an extraordinary 80-metre goal at Hanover on Saturday as champions Bayern Munich were held to a goalless draw by struggling Hamburg. READ  

Oktoberfest 2014
Oktoberfest opens to toast millions
Celebrities Carolin Reiber and Marianne Sägebrecht raise their glasses at Oktoberfest 2014. Photo: DPA

Oktoberfest opens to toast millions

Germany's world-famous Oktoberfest kicked off Saturday with the traditional tapping of the first barrel of beer, as millions of revellers are set to soak up the frothy atmosphere in the 16-day annual extravaganza. READ  

Germany plan air lifts to help fight Ebola
A Liberian man holds his daughter as they wait for treatment for suspected Ebola symptoms in Monrovia. Photo: DPA

Germany plan air lifts to help fight Ebola

Germany and France will send military transport planes to West Africa to help efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel and military officials said on Friday. READ  

Germany beefs up asylum rules for Balkans

Germany beefs up asylum rules for Balkans

Germany made it harder Friday for people from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia to apply for asylum after lawmakers classified the three Balkan countries as safe, with respect for basic rights. READ  

German Muslims rally against extremism
Muslims pray in Kreuzberg, Berlin, on Friday outside a mosque which was damaged in an arson attack. Photo: DPA

German Muslims rally against extremism

Muslims across Germany held a day of prayers and rallies on Friday to condemn both Islamic extremism and a backlash against their faith that has seen arson attacks on mosques. READ  

German military flight to Iraq starts with a hiccup
The trainers on the air strip in Hohn, Schleswig-Holstein. Photo: Bundeswehr.

German military flight to Iraq starts with a hiccup

Military trainers flew to northern Iraq from Germany on Friday, ahead of a huge delivery of weapons from the German military, but things didn’t initially go as planned. READ  

Munich gets four Euro 2020 matches
Photo: DPA

Munich gets four Euro 2020 matches

UPDATE: Munich will play host to four Euro 2020 games, European football’s governing body Uefa announced in Geneva on Friday, but London was the real winner. READ  

Driver, 18, ploughs into school pupils
The scene by the bus stop outside the school in Diepholz. Photo: DPA

Driver, 18, ploughs into school pupils

An 18-year-old drove into a group of students outside a school in western Germany on Friday morning, injuring several. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's tents
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
Drunk teachers ruin school trip to Hamburg
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Oktoberfest 2014: The best and worst in dirndl fashion
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Photo: DPA
Education
German universities tumble in global rankings
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,348
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd