Mario Draghi shot down charges that the European Central Bank (ECB) is 'blackmailing Greece' and called on the Greek government to restore political dialogue with its creditors, leading to a succesful completion of the fiscal review, during an address to European Parliament on Monday.
Speaking before the Europarliament's economic committee, the ECB president said the Bank would consider reinstating a waiver that would allow the use of Greek bonds as security and Greece to have access to quantitative easing through the Bank, as long as the fiscal review is completed successfully. These conditions existed in August 2012, he noted, but not in February 2015, when the communications policy of basic cabinet members often referred to bankruptcy and unreliability, further undermining the Greek banks.
Responding to allegations of a blackmail, through an MEP's question, Draghi said that the institution's exposure to Greece totals 104 billion euros, or 65 percent of the country's GDP - the highest ratio among eurozone countries. "The ECB has 104 billion euros of exposure to Greece. It's bit rich," he said, when the Bank's exposure is taken into account, to be accused of blackmailing. "What sort of blackmail is this? We haven’t created any rule for Greece, rules were in place and they’ve been applied," he stressed.
He added that Greece's ceiling in issuing interest-bearing treasury bills comes to 15 billion euros, a decision made within the framework of the fiscal adjustment programme, not by the ECB.
Greece must fullly honour its commitments and meet all its loan obligations to its creditors, Draghi said, stressing that there is no discussion over an eventuality of Greece's exiting the euro.
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