The European Union will forge an agreement within the next two months that will definitively tackle the issue of debt sustainability for nations sharing the euro, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told CNBC.
“We’re going to be seeing in the next two months major decisions that will once and for all settle the issue of sustainability of debt in the eurozone,” he said in an interview published today on the cable news network’s website.
“All the major mechanisms that need to be put on the table will be there to convince the markets that the euro zone will defend itself, will defend its currency, the countries that do what they have to do to be fiscally responsible and competitive.”
Papaconstantinou called the crisis “a systemic issue for Europe” and said the bloc must convince the market about debt sustainability in the medium term. The spreads Greece pays investors compared with German debt “remain at the level that they are because of the broader turbulence in European markets,” he said.
Talks to “stretch” Greece’s repayment of the 110 billion euro ($143 billion) EU and International Monetary Fund bailout package would be “very beneficial,” he said.
“We’re all learning from what’s happening and from how the markets are reacting and I’m sure we will conclude with the kind of mechanism that will both reassure the markets and satisfy the principle of burden-sharing, which is correct because taxpayers cannot continue to pay the bill,” Papaconstantinou said. “And bondholders also need to be responsible for their actions.”
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