Nout Wellink’s remarks were published Monday in Het Financieele Dagblad.
Many observers believe Greece won’t be able to cut its national debt to sustainable levels even with a default of 50 percent on privately held bonds, leaving little hope the country can repay government-held debt in full.
If Greek debt “really is going to be written down, it’s almost unthinkable that the government could escape that,” Wellink was quoted as saying.
Wellink’s remarks are at odds with standing claims by the Dutch government that it will receive repayment in full of all loans to Greece.
“There was an inconsistency in all the stories that politicians told,” Wellink was quoted as saying. “You can claim, as our minister did, that government money will always come back, but if you have to take a greater and greater share in financing Greek debt on yourself, that chance gets continually smaller.”
The Dutch share of Greece’s euro110 billion ($142 billion) 2010 bailout package was euro4.7 billion. Its share in a new euro130 bailout loosely agreed in October 2011 is yet to be determined.
Wellink ran the Netherlands’ central bank until the end of July. He was then an advocate of the country’s participation in Greece bailouts.
As recently as June 5, Wellink was pleading for Dutch and European governments to participate. The “bailout won’t cost taxpayers anything, that would only happen if the money is not paid back,” he said then. “We are fighting for taxpayers.”