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Varoufakis urges 'intelligent' debt restructuring
[FRANKFURT] Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called Monday for "intelligent" restructuring of Greece's debt, while acknowledging that a write-down would be unacceptable for the country's creditors.
"A 'haircut' is a dirty word. I've learned that," Mr Varoufakis told the German business daily Handelsblatt.
"Just as we don't want to hear the word 'troika', our creditors don't want to hear the word 'haircut'. I understand that," the minister said, referring to visits by the trio of creditors that have overseen Athens's finances through two bailouts.
"There are more intelligent solutions - swaps, for example," Mr Varoufakis said.
Under that mechanism, Greece could transform part of the loans it has received from the European financial support system (EFSF), or bailout fund, into bonds.
The interest and repayment rates Athens pays on these bonds could then be pegged to Greece's rate of economic growth, Mr Varoufakis argued.
Last month, Greece's eurozone partners agreed to extend the bailout programme until the end of June to give both sides time to hammer out a new deal.
In return, the Greek government was required to draw up a list of proposed reforms.
"I don't want Greece to pile up more debt. The new deal we want to agree on by the end June must be a growth pact, based on private-sector investment," Mr Varoufakis said.
"If we can return to growth and restructure parts of our debt intelligently, without changing the nominal amount, then the debt problem can be resolved," he said.