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Economy

Stournaras: If it Wasn’t for the Bank of Greece in 2015, the Country Might Have Left the Eurozone

ATHENS – “If the Bank of Greece did not operate under the protection of the institutional framework of independence, after what happened in 2015, the country would perhaps have left the eurozone,” Bank of Greece (BoG) governor Yannis Stournaras said on Saturday during the Kathimerini conference in a panel titled: “In the next 50 years, is Democracy safe? Is Greece reformable?”

“Who doubts that if it weren’t for the Bank of Greece, we might not be in the euro after the adventure of 2015?” he said.

For this reason, he said there must be institutions that act as a “counterweight” to the central authority. “The quality of democracy will improve with greater trust in the institutions,” Stournaras noted.

He argued that despite the long-term crisis that Greece went through, it remains relatively high in the UN Human Development Index. However, he added, Greece must aim even higher.

Asked about the problem of public debt, Stournaras said that after the fear of default in 2010, Greece received a huge gift: The largest financial aid of €289 million in debt refinancing at a low interest rate. He estimated that with a sustained 2% primary surplus in the budget and the continuation of reforms over the next 50 years, public debt can return to 60% of GDP. “We owe it to the next generations,” he stressed.

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