Stournaras applauds BoG independence


Central banker Yannis Stournaras on Friday stressed the importance of the Bank of Greece’s independence at an Athens conference marking its 90th anniversary.

Addressing the event on the interwar banking system, Stournaras, a former finance minister, spoke about the history of the Bank of Greece. He added that after World War II the bank “gradually regained its independence and deservedly earned its place at the heart of the credit system, while becoming one of the principal pillars of economic stability in the country.” That was the role, he added, “that the central bank was asked to confirm over the course of the recent economic crisis, remaining independent of political or business interventions.”

The conference, which opened on Friday and concludes on Saturday, also heard Berkeley’s Economics and Political Science Professor Barry Eichengreene, the keynote speaker, refer to monetary policy in the era of populism, observing that populist movements “view technocrats and the elites with suspicion.” That was the case in the US after 2008, when the Federal Reserve had the troubled banks bailed out while borrowers unable to service their mortgages were left to their fate.