Evangelos Venizelos CNBC Exclusive Interview with Silvia Wadhwa

Thurday 15 March 2012

CNBC:  Now that we’ve got the PSI out of the way, which is basically a big mountain you had to climb, how confident are you that the whole process will be concluded now with the few (bondholders) that are not on board yet?

Venizelos: First of all, until now, we have a very high participation. Until now we have a participation of the level of 95.7%. We are very close to the so-called “universal participation” and according to the fundamental and initial decision of the Euro Summit, our target was this universal participation. Now, after the extension of our offer until the 23rd of March, I am sure that we are in a position to absolutely achieve this target of universal participation, because the market is always very clever, very practical, very realistic and the market knows very well that this offer is unique; it is a very good and profitable offer and every bondholder can make the right option to take this offer with a sweetener equivalent, with a co-financing scheme, with a GDP warrant and also with new bonds under English law. This is a unique and absolutely constructive proposal not only from the part of Greece but also from the part of the so-called “official sector”.

CNBC: You are a lot more optimistic about the wisdom of the market than I am but, that set aside, were you disappointed at all that a credit event was called?


CNBC | Market Should Be Assured by Debt Deal: Greek Minister

Monday 12 March 2012

By: Reported by Silvia Wadhwa, Written by Catherine Boyle

Greece has been tossed on the turbulent sea of global markets for almost two years now – but the bond swap deal secured on Friday should reassure markets about the country’s future, Greek Finance Minister and possible future prime minister Evangelos Venizelos told CNBC.

“Now we have a sustainable debt for a sustainable country,” he said. “And now we can persuade the market because we have a new, very important and very concrete argument: the sustainability of the public debt after the PSI (the private sector investor deal).”

“We have a very clear political declaration and position from the part of our institutional partners. We have a very clear statement from the part of the Eurogroup, but also of the Euro Summit. We have the support of the so-called “Official Sector” until the return of Greece in the market,” he added.

Greece’s struggle under the weight of a 160-percent plus debt-to-GDP ratio and 20 percent unemployment has been one of the biggest factors affecting global markets for close to a year. Investors feared that if the Mediterranean country defaulted on its debt repayments, the end result could be the demise of the single currency itself.


CNBC: Greece Now Has ‘New Starting Point’: Greek FinMin

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.


Bloomberg: Venizelos says Greece prepared to force bondholders into $140 billion swap

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.


Reuters: Greek FinMin tells bondholders swap offer is final

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.


Interview with Bloomberg’s Nicole Itano

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:


Interview with Die Zeit

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.


Financial Times: We can bridge gap, insists Greek minister

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.