Bce toughens stance, Athens plays down the snub

Draghi firm after meeting Varoufakis

05 February, 12:09

    Employees walk under the  screens of the Athen's Stock Exchange Employees walk under the screens of the Athen's Stock Exchange

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - The European Central Bank has toughened its stance towards the Greek government and its anti-austerity offensive by preventing Greek bank access to credit through Greek government bonds and called the Greek rescue programme risky. The Athens Stock Exchange opened at -9 Thursday. The Greek government played down the snub: according to its Finance Minister the Ecb is putting pressure on all members of the Eurogroup in order to reach a mutually positive deal. The government also stated that there are no significant problems with the Greek banking sector.

    "The board of directors - reads a statement published on the Ecb website after the governors' meeting - has decided to lift the waiver affecting marketable debt instruments issued or fully guaranteed by the Hellenic Republic". Draghi intends to waste no time: the new rules will be applicable within a week, by Februray 11. The waiver was introduced in 2010 and it allowed Greek banks to refinance with government bonds as collateral for lending money to commercial banks, even though Greek bonds were highly risky. The waiver was conditional on Greece's respect of the recovery plan coordinated with the troika and expiring on February 28. As the new Greek governments is not ready to renew its commitments with the troika and restructure its debt, the Ecb has anticipated its moves, mimicking the course of action it followed during the Cypriot crisis when it also cut credit to Cypriot banks, thereby sending an unequivocally harsh message to Athens that a halt both in the reform process and budget-restructuring will be a very costly affair. Newsagency Bloomerg reported that if Greece does not renew its programme for a new line of credit it risks being unable to meet its commitments on March 25 which would mean default. Ecb which is a member of the troika together with the Eu and the Imf already passed judgement on the intentions of Tsipras and his Finance Minister: "it it is currently not possible to assume a successful conclusion of the programme review and is in line with existing Eurosystem rule" reads a statement from Frankfurt.

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