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Crucial hours for Greece's future

· The European Central Bank ready for a reduction of the debt ·

Crucial hours for Greece's future: this morning the representatives of the major political forces that support the Government are to conclude the agreement with the Troika (European Commission [EC],  European Central Bank [ECB] and the International Monetary Fund [IMF]) to unfreeze further aid. Time is pressing: the Troika is demanding new austerity measures and the people's protests are increasing. In Brussels, the President of the EC, José Manuel Durão Barroso, has declared: “we want Greece to stay in the Euro zone. The cost of Greece's exit would be higher than the costs we are sustaining to support the country”.

Around noon, according to Government sources, the Prime Minister, Lucas Papademos will meet the leaders of the three parties – Giorgos Papandreou of PASOK (socialist), Antonis Samaras of Nea Democratia (centre right) and Giorgos Karatzaferis of LAOS (far right) to approve or not the agreement reached with the representatives of the Troika concerning the new bail-out package for Greece on which the beginning of the operation for the transfer of State bonds to private hands also depends. The leaders of the three parties will be receiving this morning, again according to newspaper sources,  the definitive text of the new aid plan for Greece which was worked out down to the smallest detail at  the night meeting between the Greek Prime Minister and the Troika representatives. If, as everything seems to suggest, the three leaders approve the measure requested by the Troika, the test of the aid plan will be presented in Parliament by Friday, to be approved by Sunday.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the European Central Bank is prepared to make some concessions on the Greek State bonds in its possession, easing Athen's position and encouraging the achievement of an agreement to unfreeze a 130 billion loan. The Wall Street Journal mentions sources close to the negotiations to restructure the debt on the basis of which the Frankfurt Institution would be ready to exchange the Greek bonds purchased at a discount last year at less than their nominal value, permitting Athens to save about eleven billion euros.

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St. Peter’s Square

Dec. 9, 2019

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