News Column

Banks, Greece And SME Access to Loans Top Agenda in Meeting with Dijsselbloem

February 20, 2014



BRUSSELS, Feb. 20 -- The European Union's European Parliament issued the following news release:

It is high time that finance ministers changed tack on Greece's debt sustainability and accepted a bank resolution system that is less prone to political power games, MEPs urged at Thursday's parliamentary hearing of Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The need to ease access to finance for small firms was also repeatedly raised.

Mr Dijsselbloem was fielding questions at his regular meeting with Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee MEPs.

Greece

MEPs asked whether, given possible early signs of recovery, the Eurogroup is going to make good its pledges that Greece's debt levels could be reduced more gradually, so as to enhance its growth prospects and alleviate the social consequences of austerity. Mr Dijsselbloem commented that if indeed Greece were found to be running a trade surplus, then its long-term debt sustainability could be reconsidered.

Bank resolution

On bank resolution, MEPs told Mr Dijsselbloem that the system proposed by Council was too politicised and so cumbersome that decisions could never be taken in a weekend. He acknowledged that "there is serious room for improving the decision-making process" and added that "Several ministers are in fact now proposing improvements too."

Access to credit

MEPs repeatedly stressed that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in some countries are crying out for competitively-priced loans. They noted that SMEs in the south of the EU find it harder to obtain finance than those in the north, and that they are unable to take out loans from banks operating in other countries. Mr Dijsselbloem replied that "helplines" were being provided but that more was needed. On cross-border lending, he hoped that this would improve once the banking "single rule book" was gradually put into effect.

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Source: Targeted News Service


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