Greece: Finance Ministry shrugs off pressure from ECB

Ministry says Greek banking system adequately capitalized and fully protected through its access to emergency loans

Ministry says Greek banking system adequately capitalized and fully protected through its access to emergency loans

ATHENS - The Greek Ministry of Finance has shrugged off pressure from the European Central Bank as it seeks to renegotiate the terms of its debt burden.

The Greek ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the ECB's attempts to squeeze Greek banks' access to cash had instead pushed Greece's creditors to move rapidly into a new, mutually beneficial agreement between Greece and its partners.

The ECB  disallowed the use of Greek government bonds as collateral on Wednesday in a move which would force cash-starved Greek banks to make use of the more expensive Emergency Liquidity Assistance - access which also requires central bank approval.

The Greek ministry said: "The Board of the European Central Bank decided to refer the Eurosystem counterparties - seeking to secure liquidity by using Greek securities as collateral - to the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) mechanism."

- 'Self-sustaining crisis'

But it pointed out: "This decision does not reflect any negative developments in the country’s financial sector, and comes after two days of substantial stabilization."

"According to the ECB, the Greek banking system remains adequately capitalized and fully protected through its access to ELA."

The ministry went on: "The European Central Bank, by taking and announcing this decision, puts pressure on the Eurogroup to proceed rapidly to the conclusion of a new mutually beneficial agreement between Greece and its partners."

"The government daily widens the scope of its consultations with its partners and with the institutions to which they belong."

"It remains unwavering in the targets of its social salvation programme, which the Greek people approved with their vote and it is negotiating with the aim of drafting a European policy that would terminate once and for all the hitherto self-sustaining crisis of the Greek social economy," it added.

The statement came as Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis holds talks in Germany on Thursday on the management of Greek public debt.

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