ECB opposes IMF demand over new stress tests, AQR for Greek banks

Friday, 15 September 2017 17:22
UPD:21:43
EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

The initial results from Friday's informal Eurogroup meeting in Tallinn, as far as bailout-dependent Greece is concerned, include the European Central Bank's opposition to a standing IMF demand for an asset quality review (AQR) of Greek lenders.

ECB executive board member Benoît Cœuré said any AQR or new stress tests will come after the current Greek bailout program ends in August 2018, while emphasizing that the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) is the sole responsible body for such a prospect.

Cœuré's statement comes a day after an IMF spokesman reiterated the Fund's view that Greek banks' must again be evaluated in the coming period.

The ECB official referred to improved liquidity in the Greek credit system, reminding that the ELA ceiling has been reduced by another five billion euros.

ΕΥΡΩΠΑΪΚΉ ΕΠΙΤΡΟΠΉ

Beyond the very public difference of opinion between European creditors and the IMF over the Greek banking system's condition, Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem and EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, as expected, reiterated that the third review of the Greek program must conclude by the end of the year.

This position, moreover, comes two days after finance ministry officials in Athens, in an informal press briefing, said a more likely date for conclusion of the review is the beginning of 2018.

On his part, Greek FinMin Euclid Tsakalotos reportedly told the press that "no ears were pulled today", adding that the latest row between the Greek state and mining multinational Eldorado Gold was not discussed.  

Conversely, all three European officials - Cœuré, Moscovici and Dijsselbloem - noted that the nagging issue entailed with the continued prosecution of a former Greek statistics authority chief - following previous acquittals and dismissal of charges - was also discussed.

The trio, in carefully worded statements, said they respect the independence of the Greek judiciary, but that the issue entails a risk of impairing investors' confidence in Greece.

 Cœuré added that the ECB is deeply disappointed over the continued prosecution of Andreas Georgiou, while touching on the independence of Greece's statistics authority, EL.STAT.

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