Thursday 27 October 2016

Concessions to Greece would be 'unfair' to Ireland says Finland's man from ECB

Published 14/06/2015 | 02:30

Erkki Liikanen
Erkki Liikanen

Greece is taking the rest of Europe on to a "bridge to nowhere" by stalling on a debt deal, according to Finland's central bank governor, who said Athens's future in the eurozone was now in the hands of its government.

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Erkki Liikanen, who is also a member of the ECB governing council, said delays to a bailout agreement between Greece and its creditors had put the money of other Europeans at risk.

"Countries that have supported Greece have taken a risk towards their own taxpayers. Most people want to have a solution, not just words, which are a bridge to nowhere," he said.

Mr Liikanen said there were limits to the concessions that could be made to Athens, because it was unfair to other countries such as Portugal and Ireland, which already pay much higher interest rates on their rescue loans.

"In late 2014 the Greek economy was moving into a good direction. If this uncertainty continues, the economy will be weak, and the problems will be bigger, so they need to have solutions which make the economy competitive," he said.

Mr Liikanen agreed that Greece's budget targets should be lowered to reflect the performance of the economy, but said it could not be granted special treatment.

Greece's creditors vented their frustration last week as a deal remained out of sight. Mr Liikanen also said the ECB remained committed to implementing its quantitative easing programme in full.

Comparing it to a marathon, he said policymakers would continue to implement the €1.1trillion programme with a "firm and steady" hand.

© Telegraph

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