Tuesday 25 October 2016

Debt 're-profiling' possible ... but not a write-down - Kenny


SENIOR Coalition figures have cast doubt over the prospect of a debt write-down for Greece as concern grows over the potential knock-on effect of a Greek exit from the eurozone.

Government ministers yesterday refused to support the idea of a debt write-down, instead opting to use terms such as "debt re-profiling" or "debt-restructuring".

Speaking in Connemara, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was up to the Greek government to make the next move.

"The second bailout has ended and... the next move is up to the Greek government," Mr Kenny said.

"If they wish to have a third bailout or a third programme put in place with monies made available then they have got to ask for that - and that means that they have got to sit down and restart negotiations again."

Earlier, European Affairs Minister Dara Murphy was challenged by Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty when he suggested the Government would back "debt relief" for Greece.

Mr Doherty said this was a new departure for the Government, which had consistently refused to support such a measure. But as the day progressed, senior Coalition figures would not commit to such a measure.

Mr Kenny said he believed "debt re-profiling" would be an option examined by EU leaders when they met in Brussels today.

"There wasn't any talk of write-downs, but there was talk of debt re-profiling and that happened in our own case with the promissory note," he said.


Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said it was now the prerogative of the Greek government to come back to the negotiation table with a new set of proposals.

Asked specifically about the prospect of a debt write-down, Mr Flanagan said he did not believe this was on the table.

"What it (debt profiling) entails is a restructuring, not necessarily a write-down, but it does involve a certain set of circumstances around which the Greek economy is going to recover and Greek society is going to endure," he said.

Meanwhile, politicians in support of the stance taken by the Syriza-led government have said they do not believe EU leaders were willing to commit to a package that will satisfy Greek voters.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy, who is today travelling back to Dublin from Athens, said any deal must involve a significant lifting of debt.

"So far all we've heard from the likes of Germany is that the Greek debt is sustainable. It's not," Mr Murphy told the Herald. "If that position remains, I don't believe there will be any basis for a deal that is acceptable."

Sinn Fein MEP for Midlands-North-West Matt Carthy said the approach taken by EU leaders would be viewed as a "clear indication of the directions and values of the EU".

"Now is the time to reaffirm the founding principles of the European Union - solidarity, democracy and equality," Mr Carthy added.

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