Greek debt restructuring must be voluntary: Trichet

13th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet reaffirmed Monday that any restructuring of Greece's debt would have to be voluntary to avoid serious consequences.

"We must avoid anything that would trigger a credit event, and anything that would trigger a default," he said to reporters on the sidelines of a speech at the London School of Economics.

"We have a position which is very simple ... the ECB doesn't decide, debt restructurings must be voluntary," he said.

His position repeated earlier statements that have set the ECB against Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has called for an extension of current Greek bond maturities by seven years.

The ECB opposes forcing private investors to prolong their bond holdings, because it would be tantamount to restructuring the country's debt, which ratings agencies have said would put Greece in default.

A default could have serious, unpredictable effects throughout the 17-nation eurozone as concerns over which institutions hold Greek bonds could stifle credit markets.

However ECB officials have indicated they could live with a rollover of Greek debt on a voluntary basis, which would involve banks and other investors agreeing to buy new bonds to replace ones set to mature in the next couple of years.

© 2011 AFP

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