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Greek debt restructuring would add to crisis: ECB member

11 may 2011, 09:52
Austrian National Bank (OeNB) governor Ewald Nowotny. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer©
Austrian National Bank (OeNB) governor Ewald Nowotny. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer©
A restructuring of Greek debt would only deepen the crisis and hit banks in Greece and elsewhere in the 17-nation euro zone, Austrian central bank chief Ewald Nowotny said on Tuesday, AFP reports.

A debt restructuring "would exacerbate the crisis" and is being ruled out by both the European Union and the European Central Bank, Nowotny told Oe1 public radio.

There was no need for new loans to Greece, but the repayments could perhaps be rescheduled, he suggested.

"Only when we have a clear view of things, can we decide whether additional measures are needed to the existing programme. And we'll only be able to judge that in the coming weeks," he said.

It was up to Greece to take the first step and send a clear message that Athens is really willing to apply the austerity measures agreed as part of a bailout package by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

Experts from the EU, the ECB and the IMF all arrived in Athens on Tuesday to audit the cash-strapped Greek government's finances.

Nowotny also hit out at an "improvised meeting" last Friday of finance ministers from the major eurozone economies, describing it as "very unfortunate" and saying it would have "negative effects".

News of the meeting was leaked by the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel in its online edition and the magazine suggested Greece might be kicked out of the single currency area.

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