Greece urges no delay to debt relief talks with creditors

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece hopes its creditors will start talks on debt relief measures quickly to dispel financial uncertainty and help the battered economy, the country's finance minister said Monday.

Speaking at an American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce conference, Euclid Tsakalotos said recent efforts to deal with Greece's debt load "did what the Americans call kicking the can down the street."

He said that without a clear indication as to how Greece will deal with its oversized debt, uncertainty over Greece's position in Europe's single currency bloc, the eurozone, will cloud the economic outlook and stunt consumer spending and foreign investment.

"Someone who has money won't consume because Grexit hasn't left the agenda, someone who has savings won't take them back to the bank because Grexit hasn't left the agenda" he said, referring to the term used to coin a Greek exit from the euro.

"Someone who wants to invest ... won't invest because the basic decision of Greece's midterm fate, hasn't been made."

Greece's European creditors have said they will consider some form of debt relief for Greece after they complete a first review of reforms the country must take under its new three-year bailout, an 86 billion euro package agreed on in July with the coalition government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

What form the debt relief will take remains unclear. Creditors — notably the country's largest, Germany — have ruled out the idea of outright debt forgiveness, and any deal is more likely to include more favorable repayment terms such as longer repayments or lower interest rates.