ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's Finance Ministry said on Saturday that it had hired financial advisors Lazard to consult on issues of public debt and fiscal management, as the new leftist government enters talks to renegotiate a bailout accord with creditors. Greece used Lazard during talks in 2012 over private sector involvement (PSI) as it sought to write down billions of euros of debt in a major sovereign restructuring. Europe's bailout program for Greece, part of a 240-billion-euro ($270 billion) rescue package along with the International Monetary Fund, expires on Feb. ...
PARIS/ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis will meet with his French counterpart Michel Sapin in Paris on Sunday, the French finance ministry said on Saturday. Late on Friday, a source close to the French president's office told Reuters that President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "agreed that it is important to respect the choices of the Greek people and for Greece to respect its commitments" to the holders of its debt. "There is a need for dialogue and exchange to better understand the intentions of the Greek government," the source said after Hollande and Merkel met over dinner in the French city of Strasbourg. The new Greek government wants to renegotiate the country's debt and end the austerity measures that it says its EU partners have imposed on Greece.
ECB Vice-President Vitor Constancio said on Saturday that a decision on whether to give Greece emergency funding would be up to the central bank's Governing Council. He was commenting on options available for Greek banks if the country's new anti-bailout government quits its EU/IMF program. Constancio said that the central bank's emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) facility -- designed as a stop gap for banks facing temporary problems -- was an alternative to its regular funding, but its provision would need to be approved by the European Central Bank's 25-member Governing Council. "There is the possibility of so-called ELA.
A deal on extending Greece's bailout deal must be found by the end of February or the European Central Bank will not be able to continue lending to its banks, ECB council member Erkki Liikanen said on Saturday. Europe's bailout program for Greece, part of a 240-billion-euro ($270 billion) rescue package along with the International Monetary Fund, expires on Feb. 28 and a failure to renew it could leave Athens unable to meet its financing needs and cut its banks off from ECB liquidity support. "We (ECB) have our own legislation and we will act according to that... Now, Greece's program extension will expire in the end of February so some kind of solution must be found, otherwise we can't continue lending," Liikanen, also the governor of Finland's central bank, told public broadcaster YLE.
Greece will look after investors' interests and wants to bring in new foreign investment, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told a newspaper on Saturday after a turbulent week in which the new government halted a series of privatisations. "Our commitment to investors who have invested in the country's productive network will remain untouched and not only that, but we also aim to attract new, immediate investment from abroad through transparent procedures which will safeguard our mutual interests," he told the weekly Agora newspaper. Doubts about foreign investment in Greece were fuelled by the new leftwing government's decision to halt privatisation projects including the sale of the country's biggest port and to review its options on a Canadian-run goldmine, one of Greece's biggest foreign investments.