Reuters - Video

Edition: US | UK | IN | CN | JP

Video

Greece's Varoufakis seeks debt swap

Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 02:05

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says Greece's debt is not viable and repayments to the European Central Bank should be pushed back. Sonia Legg asks if his warning will make any difference to the bailout talks.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

It's not easy running any business in Greece at the moment, particularly one like Mary Koutra's that relies on people having a little extra cash. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) SHOPOWNER, MARY KOUTRA, AGED 57, SAYING: "If people don't feel sure that their family will have food on the table and money to pay the rent when they wake up each morning, why would they go out and spend money and boost the economy and retail sales?" Greece returned to growth last year after a six-year recession. But the change of government and current bailout stalemate has led them back into the red. Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says the ECB could help. He wants Greece to be given much longer to pay back its debt because he says it's simply not viable. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, YANIS VAROUFAKIS, SAYING: "If we just close a deal, cut supplementary pensions, increase the VAT on islands, just in order to get the about seven billions of the last instalment and then in a month we find ourselves in the same situation as before I don't think this is what you want, nor we, nor the Greek people and nor the lenders." We've heard similar arguments before and CCLA's CFO James Bevan says it has some merit. SOUNDBITE (English) JAMES BEVAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, CCLA INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: "I worry that what we are seeing with Greece is simply the shuffling of deckchairs on the Titanic. The real challenge for Greece is the long-term levels of high debt which are simply unsustainable in the context of the structure and scale of the Greek economy." But Greece's lenders are only offering cash-for-reforms. And there are some in Greece who want change. Constantine Michalos represents Greek businesses. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY, CONSTANTINE MICHALOS, SAYING: "What needs to be done immediately, so that we restore liquidity, which is the most important issue at the moment as far as the Greek economy is concerned, is to proceed with the necessary deep reforms that the Greek economy requires so that we can return back to the path of growth." Several key repayments are looming - the most significant, say some, an ECB deadline on July 20. But simply paying state wages and pensions could prove a challenge at the end of this month.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

Greece's Varoufakis seeks debt swap

Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 02:05