Deutsche Bank boss sees Greece debt deal

The head of Germany's top bank, Deutsche Bank, said Friday he was confident a solution could be found to Greece's woes amid reports of progress in talks between Athens and banks on a debt writedown.

Deutsche Bank boss sees Greece debt deal
Photo: DPA

Speaking to German television channel NTV on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Josef Ackermann said: “I am confident that a solution can be found.”

He said the “haircut”, or losses that banks were being asked to take on their holdings of Greek debt, was “almost 70 percent.”

“That is a great, great deal. But everyone has to make their contribution and then we will see where we are. We’re going to carry on,” said Ackermann.

Negotiations between Athens and private creditors — including Deutsche Bank — aim to reach agreement on a voluntary exchange of bonds that would wipe €100 billion ($130 billion) off the country’s debt of €350 billion.

The Private Sector Involvement (PSI) deal, agreed in principle in October, foresees creditors taking a “haircut” of at least 50 percent on the €200 billion in debt they hold. Deutsche Bank held around €900 million of Greek debt as of September 30.

Two previous rounds of talks have snagged on the amount of interest to be

paid on the new bonds following the exchange.

Adding to the growing sense of optimism, EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said he expected a deal to be clinched soon.

Speaking in Davos, he said: “They’re about to close a deal, if not today maybe over the weekend, preferably in January rather than February.”

And Steffen Seibert, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, also added that Berlin was “confident” that the talks would conclude soon.


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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.