OeNB chief welcomes EU’s Greece agreement

Austrian National Bank (OeNB) Governor Ewald Nowotny said the rescue plan agreement “defused” the situation of cash-strapped Greece.Nowotny met with Austrian President Heinz Fischer today (Tues) to inform him about recent developments on the Austrian and European financial market.The OeNB boss said afterwards, referring to the rescue plan European Union (EU) leaders had agreed about last weekend: “The situation is difficult, but it was significantly ‘defused’ by the weekend’s resolution.”Nowotny, who is also a member of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) council, said he regarded the EU plan as “help for self-help” for the country which has come under serious financial difficulties during the past few years.He said the EU plan was a bid to avoid “speculations against Greece”. Nowotny added: “We are convinced this target will be achieved.”The EU’s Eurozone countries – the member states which have the Euro as their currency – agreed on Sunday to support Greece with credits of up to 30 billion Euros if necessary.The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) meanwhile announced yesterday Greece owes Austrian banks around 4.5 billion Euros.Leading Austrian banks like Erste Group and Volksbank AG had exposures of hundreds of millions of Euros in Greece, most of which were government bonds.