- Associated Press - Monday, January 23, 2012

BRUSSELS — The Dutch finance minister says Greece’s private creditors may be forced to take losses if they can’t reach a deal to cut the country’s massive debt pile voluntarily — the first eurozone finance minister to do so.

Jan Kees de Jager said Monday that “we’ve never said it (the debt restructuring) must be voluntary. Our goal is a sustainable debt. It has our preference if it’s voluntary, but it’s not a precondition for us.”

De Jager has become the first finance minister of the 17 countries that use the euro as their currency who has openly raised the prospect of forcing losses on banks and other investments firms.

Talks between Greece and private creditors to cut the country’s debt pile by euro100 billion ($129 billion) have hit an impasse over disagreements over the interest rate on new, lower valued bonds.



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