New Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras on Wednesdya pledged not to be swayed by political pressures and interests during a session in Parliament where his appointment was confirmed in a vote by the committee for public bodies.
“I will continue to protect the public interest,” said Stournaras, who served as finance minister for two years during which his austerity policies stabilized the economy but also slashed living standards.
Stournaras’s appointment to his new role was approved by 10 MPs from New Democracy and PASOK with a total of seven opposition party MPs voting against it and one voting present while another was absent.
The new central bank governor did not come under vehement fire from members of the main leftist opposition SYRIZA, as had been widely expected, with the leftists preferring to question him about his intentions. “Will you be the long arm of the current prime minister and implement government policy?” Panayiotis Lafazanis asked him. “How will you coexist with a government of a different political persuasion?” Nikos Voutsis inquired.
Stournaras insisted that he would “be above ambitions and interests,” adding that he had “nothing against” SYRIZA.
In his speech, the new central bank governor said that the value of nonperforming loans at Greek banks was currently 77 billion euros, a third of the total, noting that lenders’ losses this year were largely due to bad loans.