Forgive Greek debt, bank boss Dibelius urges

Forgive Greek debt, bank boss Dibelius urges
Photo: DPA
The German boss of the top US investment bank Goldman Sachs called on Friday for Greece’s debt to be partially forgiven in order to save the ailing Mediterranean nation from possible bankruptcy.

“An insolvent Greece must not happen. There must therefore be a rescheduling or a restructuring of the Greek debt burden. There is probably no way around it,” bank boss Alexander Dibelius told daily Bild.

His comments come as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepared to reveal her much-anticipated paper for eurozone reform to fellow leaders at a lunch in Brussels on Friday.

Rescheduling or restructuring would mean creating new loans for Greece on more generous terms than the present loans, with the aim of restoring Greece’s creditworthiness, though at a cost to European partners such as Germany that are financing the loans.

Dibelius, who heads the bank in Germany, Austria, Russia and central and Eastern Europe, said that even though Greece generated just 2 percent of Europe’s total economic output, it had become a symbol for the euro-debt crisis and therefore could not be allowed to fail.

“It must not get to a situation in which a great currency system fails.”

As Europe’s largest economy and the strongest coming out of the global recession, Germany had a huge responsibility, he said.

“We must not forget that Germany has so far profited much more from the euro than the debt crisis has cost it. The benefits are so enormous, Germany is so strong today, that it could almost theoretically afford a restructuring of Greece on its own.”

Of course it would not come to that, though, he added.

Dibelius was also critical of the many eurozone stabilisation proposals that have been floated in recent months.

“There are too many different ideas in euro countries and in Brussels to rescue the euro. The discussions and constant news unsettle capital markets and investors,” he said.

The Local/djw

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