Monday 12 March 2012


By: Reported by Silvia Wadhwa, Written by Catherine Boyle and Ansuya Harjani 


After its second bailout was secured on Friday, Greece has been given a “new starting point” to try and restore its struggling economy to health, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told CNBC.

Greece suffered a technical default after it had to force bondholders to take part in a controversial debt-swap deal throughcollective action clauses (CAC) on Friday. Only 83.5 percent of its creditors signed up to the deal – which will wipe 100 billion euros off Greece’s debt pile by reducing the value of their bonds -- by the deadline on Thursday.

Venizelos argued that the credit event – or technical default – declared by the International Association of Swaps and Derivatives (ISDA) was not important for Greece. He also countered claims that Greece will end up needing a third bailout as it tries to cope with unpopular austerity measures.

“The credit event and triggering of the CDS (credit default swap) is something internal. This is a kind of dealing room between banks and financial entities. It’s not something important for us as a real economy,” he said.

Venizelos is confident that the country can secure “universal participation” in the debt swap scheme – the largest sovereign debt restructuring in history – following the extension of its offer until March 23.

Tags: Interviews

Monday, 5 March 2012

By Maria Petrakis and Marcus Bensasson

Greece expects bondholders to accept a one-time offer to write off about 100 billion euros ($140 billion) of Greek debt and is ready to force them to participate if necessary, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said.

“This is the best offer,” Venizelos said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Nicole Itano in Athens today. “This is the best offer because this is the only one, the only existing offer.”

The European Union is facing its first test in its attempt to turn the page on the two-year debt crisis as Greece’s private creditors decide whether to sign off on the biggest sovereign- debt restructuring in history. The success of the 106 billion- euro swap, confirmed on the eve of last week’s European Union summit, depends on how many investors agree to the writedown by the March 8 deadline.

Tags: Interviews

Monday, 5 March 2012

by Dina Kyriakidou

ATHENS, March 5 (Reuters) - Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos warned Athens' private creditors on Monday not to hold out but take the bond swap on which a second bailout of the debt-ridden country depends because it was the best deal they would get.

Venizelos told Reuters in an interview three days before the exchange offer expires, that the terms hammered out last month after months of tortuous negotiations were favourable and Greece would not hesitate to activate laws forcing losses on bond holders who did not willingly sign up.

"Whoever thinks that they will hold out and be paid in full, is mistaken," he said. "We are ready to activate CACs (collective action clause to enforce losses) if needed," he said.

Tags: Interviews

Monday, March 5, 2012

Interview with Bloomberg’s Nicole Itano


Bloomberg: Thank you very much for joining us Mr. Venizelos

Venizelos: It is my pleasure, thank you very much for coming to Athens.

Bloomberg: I’d just like to start with… you have launched an unprecedented debt swap, the largest in history. Why should investors –particularly in the United States– participate?

Venizelos: Because it is the best offer. And this is the best offer because it is the only one, the only existing offer. This offer is the result of a very long and difficult negotiation with our institutional partners, with the so-called official sector and also the result of a very long and difficult consultation in detail with the representatives of the private sector, with the IIF, Mr. Charles Dallara, and also Mr. Jean Lemière, the co-chairman of the steering committee of the creditors committee.

After this very long experience of negotiations and consultations, we finally have this offer, this financial engineering. My impression is that everybody understands very well how attractive and how important is this offer because we have four very important and unique elements and incentives:

Tags: Interviews

Wednesday, February 6, 2012

Interview of PASOK President Evangelos Venizelos with Die Zeit newspaper and reporters Mark Schieritz and Zacharias Zacharakis (in German)


Sozialistenchef Venizelos
"Deutschland braucht eine klare Vision für Europa"

Die Debatte über einen Euro-Austritt war schädlich, sagt Griechenlands Sozialistenchef Venizelos im Interview. Zum ersten Mal kritisiert er damit die deutsche Kanzlerin.

ZEIT: Griechenland erlebt das sechste Jahr der Rezession. Wann geht es mit Ihrem Land wieder aufwärts?

Venizelos: Die wirtschaftliche Situation hat sich auch Dank der Unterstützung unserer internationalen Partner deutlich gebessert, ist aber trotzdem nicht gut. Es gibt positive Signale von den Rating-Agenturen, auch der Finanzmarkt hält es momentan für sehr unwahrscheinlich, dass Griechenland noch aus dem Euro ausscheiden könnte.

Tags: Interviews

Sat. 14 January 2012


by Kerin Hope in Athens

Greece’s finance minister insisted on Friday that bond swap negotiations with international creditors could be salvaged, averting the threat of a disorderly default within weeks.

Evangelos Venizelos said in an interview with the Financial Times: “I am certain we can bridge the differences.”

“I remain strongly committed and confident. Rationality will prevail because this initiative is of common interest to Greece, its private creditors and for all its institutional partners,” he said.

Mr Venizelos was speaking after a second meeting in two days with the co-chairs of an international creditors’ committee. He said the talks would resume in Athens next week, probably on Wednesday.

The next five days would be used for intensive contacts with creditors and international institutions, and for a fresh evaluation of the financial outline under negotiation.

Tags: Interviews

Athens, Sept. 27, 2011


CNN’s John Defterios had an exclusive short interview with Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in Athens.

Ev. Venizelos: I am absolutely optimistic about the sixth disbursement and also about the implementation of the so-called “new program,” always in reference to the terms of the famous decision of July 21.

J. Defterios (CNN): So there is not a new program, so we can clarify for everyone, taking shape for a 50% “haircut”. There is not a new program not just for Greece but for peripheral countries of Europe, to reshape and provide a 50% “haircut” on government debt.

Ev. Venizelos: I am the responsible Minister of Finance of Greece. I am here in order to apply and to implement our joint European decision of July. Not to participate in different irresponsible discussions, or in order to repeat rumors or comments. For me, the only duty, the only path, is to implement the decision of July 21.

Tags: Interviews

Saturday 6 August 2011


Greece's finance minister: 'We will make a superhuman effort'
Evangelos Venizelos introduced austerity measures to tackle the Greek debt crisis – now he pledges a crackdown on tax evasion


By Helena Smith

FINWhen Evangelos Venizelos, the Greek finance minister, first met his colleagues in Brussels in June the atmosphere was far from congenial. In the post for barely a day, the burly professor of law listened impassively as eurozone finance ministers berated him for the lack of progress Athens had made in reining in its runaway debt.

Greece was all mouth and no action; it was good at passing reforms to modernise its basket case of an economy but then did nothing to enforce them.

At the end of the tirade, Venizelos took the stand and promised to deliver.

Tags: Interviews

July 19 2011

Greek FM says European debt deal is 'attainable'

by Derek Gatopoulos, Associated Press; Nicholas Paphitis, Associated Press

AP01Athens, Greece — A European debt deal is "attainable" at an emergency EU summit Thursday, Greece's finance minister said, signaling progress in talks between European governments and private bond holders in drawing up a new rescue deal for Greece.

Evangelos Venizelos also told The Associated Press in an interview late Monday that Greece remains on course to reach a primary budget surplus next year, despite missing key fiscal targets so far in 2011.

Greece is enacting major economic reforms alongside an austerity program as it grapples with a national debt topping euro340 billion ($477.5 billion) that have brought it to the brink of default.

Tags: Interviews

Jul 5, 2011


Greek Banks Ready to Take Part in Rollover, Finance Chief Venizelos Says

By Nicole Itano and Maria Petrakis

Greek banks are willing to roll over their government bonds as part of a European Union rescue plan that will keep the country out of financial markets for three years, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said.

“The Greek banks are ready to participate,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Athens today. “We must respect absolutely the voluntary character of this procedure. This is very sensitive and I give a very crystal clear answer on this topic.”

EU leaders have called on investors to shoulder part of a new aid package for Greece after last year’s 110 billion-euro ($159 billion) rescue failed to stop the spread of Europe’s debt crisis. Participation by Greek banks and pensions funds is key to the success of a plan for investors to roll over as much as 30 billion euros of maturing bonds into longer-term securities.

Tags: Interviews