NEWS

Coalition buoyed by stress test results

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Deputy Premier Evangelos Venizelos are to resume talks this week in preparation for the resumption of the troika review, buoyed by the positive results from the bank stress tests on Sunday.

The fact that the European Central Bank assessment showed Greek lenders needing no new capital is seen by the government as a vindication of its bailout exit strategy.

The coalition aims to rid itself of its loan agreement at the end of this year by using some 11.5 billion euros left over in the state-run recapitalization fund to create a precautionary credit line that would support Greece borrowing from the markets.

Samaras certainly appeared upbeat in his comments on Monday, ahead of Tuesday’s anniversary of Greece entering the Second World War. “The sacrifices made by everyone are already starting to produced tangible results,” he said. “We have made a start and nobody can stop us now. The victory that will arise from this relentless battle will be for all Greeks.”

The coalition also believes that the stress test results provide it with ammunition to use against SYRIZA, which questioned whether the ECB’s assessment provided a full picture of the state of Greek banking sector.

“We can all see now that SYRIZA is saddened by the fact that Greeks’ deposits are safe,” said government spokeswoman Sofia Voultepsi on Monday.

“After the successful assessment of the Greek banking system, it is evident what would have happened if SYRIZA had a chance to implement its proposals,” said New Democracy spokeswoman Anna Asimakopoulou.

SYRIZA responded by accusing the government of having run out of credible arguments and limiting itself to “scaremongering and cheap nonsense.” The leftists, instead, focused on the enduring problem regarding the lack of liquidity for Greek businesses.

“I do not share in the celebrations about the stress tests,” said SYRIZA MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis.

“We will see in due course if this leads to a strengthening of the real economy.”