2011-05-28www.spiegel.de

The consequences of a debt write-off against the government in Athens would be manageable for Germany. At the moment, some €25 billion in Greek debt is held by Germany's commercial banks and the so-called "bad banks" set up to take on toxic assets. This debt takes the form of either Greek sovereign bonds in their portfolios or loans made to the Greek government.

So nothing to worry about, then? Not quite, even if a debt haircut for Greece would appear to be manageable for Germany. The greatest dangers of such a course of action lurk elsewhere. The Greek banking system would probably break down, while the country would find itself unable to borrow on the financial markets for a long time.

And a partial Greek default could also result in an aggravation of the euro crisis for a different reason. If Ireland and Portugal were to be infected by the debt restructuring virus, the situation would quickly spin out of control. In that event, private banks, insurance companies and investors in Germany would definitely feel the consequences.


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