News / Economy

Merkel Downplays Rumors of Second Greek Debt Writeoff

German Chancellor and top candidate of the Christian Democratic Union Angela Merkel makes a speech in the northern German town of Sankt Peter-Ording, July 19, 2013.
German Chancellor and top candidate of the Christian Democratic Union Angela Merkel makes a speech in the northern German town of Sankt Peter-Ording, July 19, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has played down speculation that Greece could get a second debt writedown, saying that could destabilize the eurozone.  But some analysts say a debt writedown might be exactly what's needed to keep the euro zone on track to recovery. 

Merkel held the chancellor's annual summer news conference Friday, giving her an important opportunity to address the media just months before Germans vote in the September federal election.

Europe's ongoing debt crisis is a major campaign issue and Greece was one of the main topics.
 
Speaking to reporters, she repeated her view that she does not see a debt "haircut" for Greece.

On Thursday the German finance minister was in the Greek capital Athens and came bearing the same message.

On Friday Merkel said the repercussions of a writedown would be bad for the eurozone as a whole.
 
She said if a so-called "haircut" were to take place, another country might also request a debt write-down.

Such a move, she said, would lead to uncertainty for all investors in the euro area and call into question everything that has been done in recent years to stabilize the euro zone.

Iain Begg from the European Institute at the London School of Economics said the Greek situation should be assessed in isolation.

"Greece always has to be regarded as a special debt because it is much more extreme," Begg explained. "It has a huge public debt and that debt is owed to foreigners."

Portugal, Ireland and Cyprus have also received bailouts, but their loans are dwarfed in comparison to the $400 billion Greece has borrowed.

Nonetheless, Greek finances remain dire and the countries' economy keeps shrinking.  About one-quarter of the population is out of work.
 
As German federal elections loom, Mrs. Merkel may now be playing down the possibility of a debt write-down, but Begg said he thinks that perspective will have to shift.

European officials realize, he said, that Greece needs a new lifeline if its economy is to recover.

"You want to sort out the problems in the public sector but you aggravate them by squeezing too hard," Begg added. "And I think the European partners recognize this, which is why I think in the coming months you will see some moves to alleviate the pressure of public debt on the Greek economy."

Recent polls have shown that Merkel is likely to win the vote in Germany, which will be held on September 22.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8896
JPY
USD
119.26
GBP
USD
0.6475
CAD
USD
1.2451
INR
USD
61.816

Rates may not be current.