Greece must reform, says Greek Central Bank Governor

Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras urged the government on Thursday to fulfill reforms commitments promised to European partners in exchange for future funding as soon as possible to help the country’s economic recovery to take place.

Presenting his annual report, Mr. Stournaras said Greece needs a comprehensive growth plan based on reforms including the opening up of professions, preserving fiscal achievements, reviewing tax exemptions and adopting policies that promote employment.

“In the past few years, we have covered some very rough ground at high cost to the whole of Greek society. If we can address the relatively few issues still pending and complete the first phase of the effort launched in 2010, we will then be able to move on to the next phase, in which the growth potential of the economy will be considerably enhanced,” said the governor.

Earlier this week, eurozone finance ministers approved a four-month extension to the country’s EUR240 billion bailout after several tense weeks of negotiations that promoted big withdrawals from Greek bank deposits.

The Greek central bank governor said the Greek banking system “remains strong despite the turbulence” but warned lenders that they continue to face serious challenges with “first and foremost the need to address nonperforming loans (NPLs).”