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MNI EUROGROUP: 'Not Worried' Less Greek Spending Leverage

MNI (London)
--But Worries Over ROL After ELSTAT Trial Hitting Investors
By Tara Oakes
     BRUSSELS (MNI) - Greece's recent bond issuance hasn't left creditors
worried about having less leverage on the country's spending patterns, Eurogroup
President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Friday.
     Asked by MNI whether worries had struck after the Greek bond issuance means
the country has more access to market cash, Dijssebloem said that the issue
shouldn't be considered in those terms.
     "I'm not worried about leverage. The key issue is that we have a joint
interest and a joint agenda and that the cooperation is strong," Dijsselbloem
responded at a joint press conference with representatives from the ECB, ESM and
European Commission.
     Greece raised E3 billion via a three-year bond sale in July at a yield of
4.625%, the first fully syndicated sale in over 3 years. 
     The next ESM disbursement of E0.8bln could reach Greece by the end of
October, the ESM's Klaus Regling said, adding it is earmarking for arrears
clearance. "We will make that assessment in October," he added.
     But what is bugging creditors is perceived threats to the rule of law and
independence of Greece's national statistical authority ELSTAT after the most
recent trial of its former chief, Andreas Georgiou.
     Georgiou, who had previously escaped unscathed from other trials, was
handed down a suspended sentence in a trial earlier this year widely believed to
be politically motivated.
     Dijsselbloem insisted that Eurogroup weren't asking the Greek government to
interfere, but said that it had damaged investor confidence.
     "It directly and indirectly touches on whether ELSTAT is independent,
whether the people there are protected and this is raised each time there is a
court case," Dijsselbloem said.
     His conviction in August was for "breach of duty" for not keeping ELSTAT
board members up to date in 2009 when he sent data to Eurostat on the country's
--MNI Brussels Bureau; +44 203-865-3851; email:
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email:
[TOPICS: M$X$$$,M$Y$$$,MC$$$$,MI$$$$,M$$FI$,MFX$$$,MGX$$$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 |

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