EU drafts plan B for Greece

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram According to sources quoted from Reuters the masterminds of the EU have been working on a plan B for several weeks if the current austerity measures prove unworkable for Greece. This “plan B” as the Reuters sources call it, is designed to ensure Greece gets the liquidity needed to avoid default in the absence of the next 12 billion euro tranche of its emergency loan package, due by mid-July. As well as preventing default, the aim is to head off any contagion spreading from Greece to Ireland, Portugal and Spain, and the potential knock-on impact on Europe’s banking system, with French and German banks large holders of Greek debt. While China has been buying eurozone debt and Chinese officials have said they intend to continue that trend, the plan B does not include Chinese investment according to the sources. It was reported though that China remains interested in extending its commercial investment in Europe, such as taking stakes in companies. According to the Reuters sources the plan B is distinct from a French proposal for private sector involvement in a second Greek bailout program and is being discussed despite European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and other senior EU officials repeatedly saying that “there is no Plan B for Greece”. “There’s been thinking about contingency for some time, for several weeks,” one senior eurozone finance official involved in the Greek bailout told Reuters. The other sources seconded that line, saying there was “active planning” to step in if the Greek parliament rejects the austerity program. “In this sort of situation, you can’t afford not to think about what might happen next,” the first source said. The sources would not confirm in detail what the current plan involved, but said several options had already been dismissed, including an EU bridging loan to Athens. “This option was discussed a few days ago, before the Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg (on June 19-20), but I understand it’s now been ruled out,” a second source said.They would not be drawn on what action banks might take, but British Prime Minister David Cameron made clear at an EU summit last week that banks needed to strengthen their balance sheets and be ready for any potential fallout from Greece. “All European countries need to use the time that we have to strengthen banks and bank balance sheets and make sure they are meeting all of the requirements so that they are strong and can withstand any problems,” he said. “Banks right across Europe that have exposure to Greece… every bank needs to make absolutely clear what its exposure is.” REPAYMENTS DUE Greece has to roll over 2.4 billion euros of six-month treasury bills on 15 July and 2 billion euros of three-month bills a week later. In August, it has 5.9 billion euros of five-year bonds maturing and must roll over 2.5 billion of bills. Failure to refinance the debts would result in the first default since the eurozone was created in 1999. While Greece may be able to roll over its treasury bills in July, it would not have enough money to redeem the 5.9 billion euros of five-year bonds it has falling due on 20 August. One of the sources said the most likely way a default would be avoided in that case would be the extension of another loan from a third party, although they would not go into details. “I find it difficult to believe that no bank, no institution, would be ready to extend Greece a further loan,” the source said. “At the right terms, it will be done.”last_img read more

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