VP Dragasakis: Bank of Greece must help identify strategic defaulters

There has to be constant pressure on the banking system to ensure conditions where there is equal access to financing but also financing tools and programmes, such as microcredit, that the creation of a developmental bank will allow, the government’s Vice President Yiannis Dragasakis said on Wednesday.

Dragasakis was speaking at an event organised by the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship to present its annual exhibition for Greek commerce.

He also called on the central bank to assist efforts to identify strategic defaulters, distinguishing them from small and medium-sized enterprises that were genuinely struggling to stay afloat. The latter should not be lumped with all those that had deliberately allowed their businesses in Greece to go bankrupt and stockpiled their money abroad instead of paying off their loans, Dragasakis said, noting that banks were now in a position to prove this.

“The Bank of Greece has, in any case, the full details on the money sent abroad. It must, therefore, also contribute to finding the real and deliberate strategic defaulters and making them suffer the consequences, separating the ‘wheat from the chaff’,” Dragasakis said.

The extremely unfavourable impact of the crisis on small and medium-sized enterprises reflected mistaken beliefs, prejudices and biased policies, as well as mechanisms that put SMEs in a difficult position. Some even saw the destruction of SMEs as a condition for improving competitiveness and exiting the crisis, he added.

“It is this way of thinking that is behind the destruction of the middle class and not the present government,” Dragasakis added.