European Commission stresses independence of central banks


European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas on Tuesday stressed that the independence of central banks is safeguarded by European legislation and that member states have an obligation to respect this independence and allow central banks to do their jobs.

Schinas was responding to a question concerning leaks to the Greek media on Monday of an unauthorized recording of a telephone call from Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis to Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras, in which the politician is seen berating the central banker for inquiring into two loans he had been granted from Attica Bank.

The Commission spokesman added that the European Central Bank is the proper authority to comment on the incident, which Stournaras on Tuesday described as a “gross institutional transgression,” stressing that he did not give his consent for any recording of the conversation to be made.

Polakis on Tuesday denied making the recording, though he said that the transcript published in the media of the conversation was accurate.