ATHENS – Feuding with the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led Administration, Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras said he’s not scared of terror attacks and that the institution won’t veer from its independent role of economic oversight.
“During its long history, the Bank of Greece has become a target, in several instances, of special interests who want to undermine its institutional role in order to benefit policies that contradict the basic principles of its founding charter,” Stournaras said at the bank’s annual cutting of the New Year cake.
“Unfortunately, we were targeted by such attacks this past year, culminating in the terrorist attack against former Bank of Greece Governor Lucas Papademos,” Stournaras said.
Papademos, who also served as an Interim Prime Minister during a transitional period of governments from 2011-12, was the target of a parcel bomb in his car that injured him but Stournaras said it wouldn’t deter him as the current bank leader, media reports said.
“Such tactics do not intimidate us as, apart from anything else, they confirm that we are on the right track, as opposed to all those who insist on overlooking institutions, intervening in their operations, questioning their usefulness or rejecting their institutional decisions and the repercussions resulting from not complying with these,” he said.
With Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras upset that Stournaras said Greece may need continued oversight and a cautionary program when three international bailouts of 326 billion euros ($398.82 billion) end in August, the bank leader said it was his duty to speak out.
Tsipras said he’s bringing Greece to recovery – without mentioning that if that happens it’s because he reneged on anti-austerity promises and that he’s seeking debt relief – and that there will be a “clean exit” from the rescue packages from the Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-IMF-ECB-ESM).
Stournaras, a former think tank leader and finance minister for the previous coalition led by the New Democracy Conservatives and its partner, the former PASOK Socialists, said the central bank’s mission requires he provide economic warnings he sees as warranted.
He is free from political meddling as the bank has an independent role and can’t be touched even by Prime Ministers.
Stournaras said Greece’s central bank has often been the target of “vested interests” that aim to weaken its institutional role to the benefit of policies “opposed to the basic principles of its charter,” and that he’s undaunted.