Coeure stresses improvement in liquidity of Greek banks

European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure stressed the improvement in the liquidity of Greek banks, as well as the improvement of the market climate in Greece, shortly after the informal Eurogroup in Tallinn on Friday.

During a Eurogroup press conference, Coeure said that Greek banks’ dependence on the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) mechanism fell by 5 billion euros last week and that the total amount Greece has received is 33.9 billion euros. “This is a very important step for the reduction – and I hope the elimination of the ELA,” he noted.

As regards the deposits in Greece, Coeure said that a moderate recovery has just begun, but stressed that the level of deposits is still some 35.3 billion euros below the corresponding level in early 2015. At the same time, he pointed out that the economic situation in Greece is generally improving.

Regarding the Greek adjustment programme, he stated that it is in Greece’s interest to conclude the third programme review on time, in particular by the end of 2017. In the third programme review, he stressed that “significant and visible progress” is needed in order to reduce non-performing loans (NPLs) and added that it is just as important to operate e-auctions.

Coeure pointed out the need to “protect the independence and credibility of (Hellenic Statistical Authority) ELSTAT” and expressed the ECB’s concern about the case pending against ELSTAT’s former head, Andreas Georgiou. As he said, this case “challenges the credibility of Greek statistics,” and that of Eurostat itself, noting that this engenders concern in the ECB.