BRUSSELS, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The European Central Bank will pass up profits it has made from buying Greek bonds over the past two years under its Securities Market Programme in an effort to lighten Athens' debt burden, a senior euro zone official said on Tuesday.
The ECB has spent about 38 billion euros on Greek government, debt that is now worth about 50 billion euros. By forgoing that profit and redistributing it to national euro zone central banks, the ECB can provide debt relief to Athens.
The agreement forms part of a 130 billion euro financing package that aims to reduce Greece's debts from around 160 percent of GDP now to 121 percent of GDP by 2020.
By forgoing its profits, the ECB is expected to be able to contribute about 5.5 percentage points to the debt reduction.