Draghi: It’s up to Athens to decide when to return to markets; confidence restored with full implementation of program

21 July 2017
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European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi told reporters in Frankfurt on Thursday that it’s up to the Greek government when to decide on a return to the bond markets for its borrowing needs, although he stressed that it’s the full implementation of the current adjustment program that will restore markets’ confidence.

His emphasis on Athens fulfilling bailout targets and provisions echoes practically all of the statements by Euro zone officials over the past month, after the second review of the Greek program was finally concluded in mid June – after nearly a year and a half of delay.

Draghi spoke after an ECB governing council meeting, which decided to leave ECB interest rates at the current levels. No Greece-related item was on the agenda of Thursday’s meeting.

The ECB chief referred to progress having been recorded in Greece, adding that an overall strategy is needed for the first foray by the Greek side into the markets since 2014 – months before the current leftist-rightist coalition government rose to power on the wave of virulent anti-bailout and anti-austerity rhetoric and campaign promises.

He said a necessary condition is conclusion of the third review of the current program – scheduled for the fall — as well as what he termed a return to the markets in a “lasting way”.

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