With friends like these…. Jean-Claude Juncker and Christine Lagarde. (AFP)
It’s not as if the troika of eurozone rescue lenders never falls out, but usually it takes a not-in-front-of-the-children attitude to airing its rows. A refreshing change on Monday night, as my colleagues Peter Spiegel and Josh Chaffin report, when the eurogroup summit, while not actually deciding anything substantive, made sure it would stand out from the dozens of other such gatherings by hosting a very public argument between the eurogroup’s Jean-Claude “We all know what to do, we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it” Juncker and the IMF’s Christine Lagarde.
The actual substance of the spat looks laughably trivial. It’s about whether Greece hits its 120 per cent of GDP debt target in 2020 or in 2022, which, given the huge uncertainties in forecasting debt dynamics, is about as precise as a Florida election count. The 120 per cent target is itself pretty arbitrary, apparently based on what seems to be sustainable in Italy, which is a very different country with a more flexible economy and captive domestic investor base for government bonds. Read more
Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the eurozone crisis. By Esther Bintliff on the world news desk in London, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times GMT.
18.45 That’s all from the live blog for tonight, but you can keep up to date with all the latest news and analysis on FT.com. We’ll leave you with a summary of events today:
- Investors holding 85.8 per cent of Greece’s private debt agreed to participate in the country’s €206bn debt restructuring
- The Greek cabinet approved the use of collective action clauses (CACs), to force recalcitrant investors who own bonds under Greek law to take part in the swap
- Once the CACs are activated, participation will rise to 95.7 per cent, the level that Greece’s troika of lenders say is necessary if the country is to cut its debt to 120 per cent of GDP by 2020
- Eurozone finance ministers held a conference call, in which they agreed to release up to €35.5bn ($47bn) in bailout funds to help fund the debt swap
- Spanish trade unions voted for industrial action at the end of March
- And finally, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association began their meeting at 13.00 to discuss whether the debt swap constitutes a credit event, which would trigger credit default swaps. At the time of writing, we still didn’t know the answer.