Nikolaos Karamouzis: Opportunity for a growth escape forward

“We have a unique opportunity to organize a growth escape forward and not let the sacrifices of the Greek people go wasted and to end the memorandums and supervision. Towards this direction we must implement all agreed issues without further delay,” Nikolaos Karamouzis, Eurobank’s chairman said on Friday.

Addressing a general shareholders’ meeting, Karamouzis said that despite Thursday’s Eurogroup decisions, the country still has a difficult road ahead to exit the crisis, adding that with a more decisive debt relief agreement, which could have paved the road for the QE program, there would be speedier positive developments. “Yesterday’s development is a positive step and now we must focus on the return to growth after 10 years of recession, with the exception of 2014,” the Greek banker said.

Karamouzis said it was inconceivable the fact that Greece, have the same or better peformance than Portugal, to pay 2.5 pct higher interest, to be unable to borrow from markets and to be five notches lower in credit ratings by S&P and Moody’s. The country’s funding needs for the period 2018-2023 are 7.0 billion euros according to the IMF, 11-12 billion according to the European Commission, and it is not possible for a country with our capabilities and human resources not to be able to find this money from markets, he said, adding “It is in our hands to transform Greece into the most rapidly growing country in Europe and to release the country’s business and productive forces”.

Fokion Karavias, the bank’s CEO, said completion of the second review proved more difficult than expected, but it is a positive landmark to leave behind a period of constant uncertainty and for banks to return to stability with the aim to regain access in international markets.