In blistering criticism of the IMF’s Europe Department Director Poul M. Thomsen on Thursday, the head of the Hellenic Capital Markets Commission Charalampos Gotsis told Parliament that Thomsen’s reference to “changing IMF forecasts on Greece if these proved too pessimistic” was the height of irresponsibility.
“I once travelled with Mr. Thomsen on a trip from Frankfurt to Amsterdam. He had 10 associates with him, each armed with a lap-top – I cannot understand why their estimates are wrong. And to now hear him say, we will see your figures and if we are convinced by them we will change ours. This is the ultimate admission of irresponsibility concerning the fate of a nation,” Gotsis said.
Briefing Parliament’s Institutions and Transparency Committee on the HCMC report on 2014-2015, Gotsis also referred to a need to “open up” the Greek banking market and allow more players to enter, noting that the current Greek system with one central bank and four systemic banks “does not exist in any other country.”
“There was a misunderstood discussion in our country during the crisis about a parallel financial system…We saw early on that our banks had a problem in the credit market. Greek businesses, even healthy ones, need support and especially to be able to draw capital,” he said. Greece had lagged behind in alternative forms of financing and currently occupied the 132nd place with regard to the banking financial market, he pointed out.
“We must give the market a chance to act in ways complementary to the banks,” he said.
Gotsis also highlighted the huge problem presented by non-performing loans that were still on the banks’ books, pointing out that such “skeletons” in their asset portfolios created problems for their evaluation in the stock market.