By Evgenia Tzortzi
European Commission data confirmed on Thursday the large-scale flight of Greek deposits to foreign banks: Greek savings abroad amounted to $31.9 billion in September 2012, $19.6 billion more than or 2.6 times as much as in December 2008.
This information emerged in a response by the European Commissioner for taxation and customs union, audit and anti-fraud, Algirdas Semeta, to a question by New Democracy MEP Georgios Papanikolaou.
The Greek member of the European Parliament had asked Semeta about the level of Greek deposits, noting the effort the Greek government is making to monitor capital that has been moved abroad and may have not been taxed. According to the commissioner, though, the data at the Commission’s disposal do not reveal whether the deposits placed abroad had been taxed in the country of the investor’s origin.
Figures from the European Central Bank also confirm the growth of deposits in the eurozone’s hard core and the flight of capital from the European south where the economic climate is one of uncertainty. Despite the small trend toward the return of deposits to Greek banks in the last nine months, Greece has recorded losses of some 76.5 billion euros in its accounts since 2009. In the same period, Spain has seen losses of 166 billion and Ireland’s came to 21.7 billion. On the other hand, the German banking system has seen deposits grow by 267.7 billion euros, while the rise in deposits in French banks has beaten all records, climbing by 324.1 billion in 2009.
It may come as a surprise to know that Cyprus belongs to the countries that have seen their deposits grow, as thanks to its high interest rates in comparison with the rest of the European Union it has seen its bank account balance expand by 5.3 billion euros from 2009, although these figures only concern the period before the current crisis erupted on the island.
Papanikolaou stated that “the creation of a stable climate such as the one Greece has recently been working on is the most important condition for the attraction and return to the country of the capital that has fled, while monitoring the amounts that have gone untaxed.”