Pröll wants banks on board in helping Greece

Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Finance Minister Josef Pröll has said he is planning to get banks on board to help financially struggling Greece.Pröll said yesterday evening (Sun) he would speak with the heads of Austria’s main banks about whether they could imagine getting involved in the international subsidisation plan for the financially struggling European Union (EU) member state.”I will hold talks about whether banks can add support on a voluntary basis,” the minister said.Austrian National Bank (OeNB) Governor Ewald Nowotny said Austrian banks had invested around four billion Euros in Greece. He stressed that it was “not a lot in terms of international comparisons.”European Union (EU) leaders and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed recently that Eurozone countries would contribute 80 million Euros to the rescue package and the IMF would provide 30 billion Euros.The term “Eurozone” refers to the 16 EU countries that have the Euro as their currency.Pröll said there was “no alternative” to supporting Greece financially but added: “The time of cheating and tricking is over for Greece.”Pröll said Austria would contribute 2.28 billion Euros, more than the Austrian two-billion-Euro stabilisation law allows.”The past has shown that not all the provided money is always needed, but we might need to discuss changing the rules in parliament because of the case of Greece,” he said.Pröll added: “Those sums are loans, not gifts. The current situation is painful for Greece, and the action plan is necessary for Europe and reasonable for Austria. The economy and jobs are what this is all about.”Pröll recently dismissed rumours that the government was considering introduction of a “Greece tax” to cover the cost of the assistance package.Hans Peter Haselsteiner, head of Austrian construction company Strabag and a former economic issues spokesman for the Liberales Forum (LIF), has suggested that Greece should opt for “controlled bankruptcy”.Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the opposition Freedom Party (FPÖ), meanwhile, has claimed that the Greek economy will recover only if the country leaves the Eurozone.