ECONOMY

EU to send official to inspect banks’ progress

Brussels plans to send a senior competition official to Greece later this month to meet with the heads of the country’s commercial banks and check on the progress of the lenders’ restructuring plans.

Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition Gert Jan Koopman will visit Athens on March 26-27 during what will be a difficult period for the government, which has announced significant interventions in the credit sector.

The rapid deterioration of economic conditions in Greece as a result of the political uncertainty has generated concern at the Commission regarding the implementation of the pledges local banks have made. The restructuring plans approved by Brussels include a series of actions that have to be fulfilled by 2018 and are aimed at weaning commercial banks off the support (in terms of liquidity and of capital) they get from the public sector.

Koopman will have separate meetings with the heads of each major bank as well as with the management of the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund (HFSF).

He is expected to ask for policy corrections so that banks can meet their commitments.