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Griekenland moet hervatten beleidsdialoog en het eens over de hervormingen, Draghi vertelt Europarlementsleden

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Speciaal adres: Mario DraghiHet uitgebreide programma voor de aankoop van activa van de Europese Centrale Bank, beter bekend als ‘kwantitatieve versoepeling’ (QE), begint in de hele EU vooruitgang te boeken, zo vertelde ECB-president Mario Draghi (foto) maandag (23 maart) aan de leden van het Economisch en Monetair Comité. De heer Draghi rapporteerde ook over de zware onderhandelingen met Griekenland en schetste wat er nodig zou zijn voordat de ECB de vrijstelling voor het kopen van Griekse staatsobligaties op de secundaire markt zou herstellen, zodat QE ook Griekenland ten goede zou kunnen komen.

 The ECB began buying sovereign bonds on 9 March and aims to buy €60 billion worth of state bonds on the secondary market each month until at least September 2016. “There are enough bonds to purchase and the operation is running smoothly”, Mr Draghi assured MEPs.

“Growth gaining momentum”

Draghi cited some signals that the ECB’s monetary policy measures are having some effect. “Growth is gaining momentum – the outlooks for 2015 and 2016 have been revised upwards by 0.5% and 0.4% – and inflation is expected to gradually increase from 0% in 2015 to 1.8% in 2017”, he said, adding that these inflation rates assume full implementation of the newly launched QE programme. Draghi nonetheless reiterated that the ECB’s monetary policies must be complemented by structural and fiscal policy reforms to mobilize additional benefits.

“If inflation goes up, interest on savings will follow”

Replying to concerns voiced by Burkhard Balz (EPP, DE) about low interest on savings and the risk that new “cheap money” bubbles could form, Mr Draghi said he was “aware of the risks”, observing nonetheless that “if inflation goes up; the interest on savings will follow”.

Griekenland drong erop aan de “beleidsdialoog” met de voormalige trojka te hervatten

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 Many MEPs were keen to hear Draghi’s assessment of Greece, which seems set to face insolvency by the end of April without a new financial assistance package. “To have a credible perspective, Greece needs to put in place a process to restore policy dialogue between the Greek government and the three institutions” [formerly known as the ECB, European Commission, and IMF “Troika”], said Mr Draghi, adding that he hoped for a positive outcome at today’s discussion in Berlin.

“Het is geen chantage”

 Draghi rejected criticism by centre-left parties that the ECB is “blackmailing” or “suffocating” Greece by refusing to reinstate the waiver for buying Greek state bonds unless it accepts reforms that were agreed upon before its recent elections. “The ECB’s exposure to Greece is €104bn, equal to 65% of its GDP. This is the highest exposure in the whole of the eurozone! The ECB does not create rules for Greece, we apply them. We lifted the waiver after its bonds fell below the threshold of what we accept as collateral. We agreed on the waiver last year, when we expected a full review of the economic reform programme and a disbursement of loans. Since February those conditions are no longer met.”

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