News

Greece Nears Debt Write-Off Goal

Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos arrives for a cabinet meeting at the parliament in Athens, Greece, March 8, 2012.
Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos arrives for a cabinet meeting at the parliament in Athens, Greece, March 8, 2012.

Greece is nearing its goal of getting the country's private lenders to eliminate $142 billion of the country's debt to help it avoid a default on its financial obligations later this month.

A government official told news agencies Thursday in Athens that banks, pension funds and financial institutions holding three-quarters of the country's debt already had agreed to write off more than half the money the country owes them. Greece set a night-time deadline for completion of the debt relief deals.

The Athens government is hoping for agreements covering 90 percent of its debt. But it has said that once the 75 percent participation rate was reached, it would impose the same terms on creditors who are unwilling to voluntarily accept steep losses on their investments.  
European leaders and financial analysts predicted the Athens government would be successful in winning pledges from its creditors ahead of the deadline. Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos was optimistic the debt relief deals would be completed.

"Today at midnight, my fellow deputies, a historical procedure is to be completed, a huge, unprecedented,complicated operation that drastically cuts the Greek public debt. If all goes well, tomorrow we will be able to announce that the Greek people, the state, the next generations, will be relieved of 105 billion euros of debt, 50 percent of GDP," said Venizelos. "For the first time in decades, for the first time in the history of the country, we have come together as a parliament, as a government, without our partners and reduced the debt.  Historically, every year due to fiscal deficits, even this year, the debt has increased, and now we are making a reverse move which in reality will give back to the new generation, the next generations that we took from them by over-borrowing."

Greece has adopted widespread austerity measures, cutting wages and pensions and eliminating thousands of government jobs, to meet the demands of international lenders so it could secure a new $172 billion bailout. It is the country's second rescue package in two years.

Venizelos said the debt relief will ease financial pressures on Greece and the 17-nation euro currency bloc that has struggled to control Europe's two-year governmental debt crisis.

"We are lightening the load of the country, we are allowing it to begin a new era. You ask if it was all easy and simple. No, it was all extremely difficult," said Venizelos. "And until the last minute we have been fighting to solve problems to face speculators in the international markets, to protect the country and for everyone in the eurozone to be protected which is vulnerable to speculative pressures, because this is an asymmetrical war."

With Greece planning to pay back the remaining debt it owes to the financial institutions over an extended period, those that bought the Greek bonds ultimately will lose about three-fourths of their investments.

Five small Greek pension funds holding about one percent of the bonds eligible for the write-down have rejected the deal, as have several investment funds and Germany's best-selling newspaper, Bild.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs