Greece Changes Strategy: No Longer Demands Debt Write Off, Ask For Debt Exchange Instead

Guess who blinked first.

The ECB’s February 28th warning shot across the bow from the Troika, which is fully stacked with Germany’s Fourth Reich, sent a clear message to fall back in line. Apparently the current Communist Greek government wants to hold on to its power and not let the situation descend into utter chaos. What they’re probably waiting on is to see what options they have with their friends in Russia in hopes of throwing them a line.

Up until now, Berlin and Washington looked pretty solid as it overturned and took Ukraine away from Moscow’s sphere of influence. Now Russia struck back and has a piece of the EU.

 

Over a week after the new Greek government came to power, it has presented its first actual proposal of how it hopes to negotiate with Europe that does not involve the infamous “debt write off”, which as both Germany and the ECB have made clear, is a non-starter as it impairs the ECB’s balance sheet and leads to a loss of “faith” in the money printer, the legacy monetary system and so on. So instead of yet another debt restructuring, the FT reports that Yanis Varoufakis “would no longer call for a headline write-off of Greece’s €315bn foreign debt. Rather it would request a “menu of debt swaps” to ease the burden, including two types of new bonds.” Actually he still does, only he is not calling it as such.

The first type, indexed to nominal economic growth, would replace European rescue loans, and the second, which he termed “perpetual bonds”, would replace European Central Bank-owned Greek bonds.

Of course, the problem immediately emerges when one considers what we explained a long time ago: namely that a distressed debt exchange, such as what Greece is proposing, is what the rating agencies have always deemed an Event of Default, and thus something which the ECB will never agree with as it once again impairs an ECB-held security.

To be sure, the Greeks themselves realize that this proposal is nothing but a debt haircut under a different name, but hope that Europe will pull an Obamacare and bet on the “stupidity of their own taxpayers” to let it slide without anyone noticing. To wit: “[Varoufakis] said his proposal for a debt swap would be a form of “smart debt engineering” that would avoid the need to use a term such as a debt “haircut”, politically unacceptable in Germany and other creditor countries because it sounds to taxpayers like an outright loss. This would mean that in order for such a deal to be successful, the Troika would have to bribe Moody’s and S&P to keep their mouths shut and to “exclude” Greece from their traditional event of default definition (something which the recent DOJ “settlements” could provide assistance with).

Another aspect of the proposal is the Greek desire to link debt, or rather interest, to GDP, which begs the question: what happens if Greek GDP continues to decline – does Europe pay the Greeks a negative interest? Sarcasm aside, there are two problems with the Greek GDP-linked proposal. The first, and most important one, is that it won’t work. As Reuters explained over a year ago:

Perhaps most ironic, while Greece has proposed a debt haircut in all but name, what it now seems almost assured to end up with is a continuation of the current status quo. In all but name.

Full article: Greece Changes Strategy: No Longer Demands Debt Write Off, Ask For Debt Exchange Instead (Zero Hedge)

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