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Debt relief or bust - Greek FM

Thursday, December 03, 2015 - 01:40

Greece's Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos says the country wants a deal on debt relief with its euro zone creditors in the beginning of 2016 to remove once and for all financial uncertainty and the 'Grexit dragon' and spur economic recovery. As Ivor Bennett reports, his pleas comes as Greek workers stage a second major strike over pension cuts in less than a month.

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A familiar sight on the streets of Athens, but no less significant. The latest mass walkout taking on an almost military dimension as thousands of strikers marched through the Greek capital in protest over planned pension cuts. From the government, though, there's no sign of backing down. Greece's finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos eyeing the bigger prize of debt relief. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, EUCLID TSAKALOTOS, SAYING: "I expect the discussions to start very soon after the first review. That was the agreement in the summer. So I think sometime in January is a good bet when they will start." For that to happen, Greece must push through reforms agreed in their thir d bailout. Not an easy task against such public hostility. Nor with a parliamentary majority of now just 3. Should he fail, Tsakalotos knows what could happen next. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, EUCLID TSAKALOTOS, SAYING: "I think that the Grexit off the table is going to be a process. If the question is how much is Grexit on the table compared with the summer, it's hardly there at all. If you are asking whether it's completely off the table then I think that it will depend on whether the Greek roadmap of how to get out of the crisis progresses as we have outlined." Debt relief is no guarantee though. The agreement signed with creditors back in July stipulated a restructuring only. Even so, Admiral Markets' Darren Sinden thinks Athens could have the upper hand. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) DARREN SINDEN, MARKET RESEARCH AND CLIENT RELATIONS MANAGER, ADMIRAL MARKETS, SAYING: "When you owe the bank manager 500 pounds it's your problem. When you owe the bank manager 5 million pounds, it's their problem. So Greece you know does have that last card to play." But for how long? With Athens ground to a halt, it's clear public support is waning.

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Debt relief or bust - Greek FM

Thursday, December 03, 2015 - 01:40