The European central banker, responding to questions, added that the same general rules applying for all Eurozone member-states will also apply for Greece, which means that ECB could buy up to 33 pct of state bonds traded in the secondary market, or not more than 25 pct of any specific bond issue. Draghi underlined that in the case of Greece, the country’s participation in the QE program meant that an exception set by ECB on accepting Greek state bonds as collateral – for as long as the country was in an adjustment programme – was valid.
Bankers said that the July timetable was set by the ECB because the central bank currently holds a heavy portfolio in Greek state bonds and, if it decided to buy more Greek bonds in March, it would have surpassed the 33 pct limit.
Draghi on Thursday announced the launch of an expanded asset purchase programme by the ECB starting in March, encompassing the existing purchase programmes for asset-backed securities and covered bonds, under which combined monthly purchases of public and private sector securities will amount to €60 billion. He had clarified that some additional eligibility criteria will be applied in the case of countries under an EU/IMF adjustment programme.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras warned on Thursday about the risk of Greece being left out of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) massive liquidity programme it announced earlier in the day.
“Europe’s historical decision, announced by Mr. (Mario) Draghi, which offers liquidity of more than three trillion euros, will be a major relief for all the peoples of Europe. It is something for which my government and I personally, have worked for for a long time,” Samaras said in a televised address on Thursday evening.
“But will Greece get a share of this gigantic liquidity package for the development of its economy? Or will we lose this unique chance? The ECB’s decision today states it clearly. Without completing the review with our lenders for the current programme which has to expire in a month, at the end of February, we will be excluded. And we will continue to be excluded for as long as this review does not conclude successfully,” the premier noted.
“Therefore, while our policy guarantees the full participation of Greece in this new era for the entire Europe, the main stance of the opposition undoubtedly keeps us outside this cosmogony,” Samaras said and added that the opposition neither accepts the programme, nor does it plan to complete the review or knows the rules.
“But they didn’t even understand, as their announcement today shows, what exactly happened. This is the time for national responsibility. We made huge sacrifices to get here. It would be disastrous to waste all the opportunities that are coming,” the premier stressed.
“The final choice, of course, belongs to the Greek people.”
The announcements made by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi on Thursday were characterised by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) as “an important decision that will be utilised by the next Greek government for the benefit of the country.”
All those who spread fear and panic are debunked by Draghi’s statements, SYRIZA said, adding that the ECB president announcement on Thursday of the launch of a government bond-buying programme responded to the extreme restrictive policies by being in favour of quantitative easing and keeping a distance from the extreme neo-liberal voices, among which, unfortunately, is that of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Everybody knows what moves were made by the outgoing prime minister, SYRIZA underlined, pointing out that Samaras had opposed quantitative easing instead of supporting it, in alliance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
SYRIZA said it was worth noting that Samaras had intensified his scaremongering propaganda in recent days, anticipating that this way his imminent election defeat would be less extensive.
PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos expressed his satisfaction on Thursday over the European Central Bank’s (ECB) decision not to exclude Greek bonds from the bank’s quantitative easing; the ECB announced the same day it would begin with bond buying in March and include Greece and other countries under conditions.
Venizelos said it would not have been fair for Greece to be excluded and called for the country to exit the memorandum and move to the preventive credit line plan.