Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras on Wednesday expressed his satisfaction with the progress made by the European Union on a banking union plan.
Speaking to reporters, in a press conference after chairing the second session of an informal ECOFIN meeting held in the Greek capital, the Greek Finance Minister stressed that banks in Greece and the European Union were safe, underlining that very significant steps have been made towards an ambitious goal of banking union and noted that by mid-April all related regulations would be ready for voting by the European Parliament. A European Council is expected to ratify these regulations afterwards. The process of banking union will continue under the Italian EU Presidency according to ANA-MPA
Commenting on Greek banks, Stournaras stressed that from a total of 50 billion euros earmarked for their recapitalisation, 25 billion euros were used for the recapitalisation of systemic banks, 14 billion euros for the liquidation of banks – where necessary - and the remaining 11 billion euros remained as reserve capital at the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund. The Greek FinMin noted that if these moneys were not needed for bank recapitalisation then they should be used to reduce the country’s debt.
Satisfaction was also expressed by the European Commission's Director-General for Internal Markets and Services Jonathan Faull. He said that the banking sector will be the basic source of funding of the real economy, but stressed that European authorities were also promoting alternative sources of financing. He underlined that the main issue was that banks would be able to save themselves – if necessary - without burdening national governments and taxpayers.