ATHENS (Reuters) - Economic recovery in Europe requires action both on the demand and supply sides and persistence with structural reforms, European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure said on Thursday.
“What we have been saying, what particularly the ECB President (Mario Draghi) has been saying last week in Jackson Hall is that the European economy is at a point where action is needed both on the demand and the supply side,” Coeure told Greek Skai TV in an interview.
“Action on the supply side is very important. There will be no recovery if euro area countries do not move on towards structural reforms,” he said.
Coeure said the ECB was committed to maintaining a high level of liquidity in the European economy.
“The spur of the recovery, the fuel of the recovery will come from aggregate demand. The ECB is committed to play its part by maintaining its very accommodative monetary conditions for an extended period of time,” he said.
Coeure met Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, and top officials including central bank chief Yannis Stournaras during his visit in Athens, ahead of talks between the government and its foreign lenders in Paris next month, which will kick off the country’s next bailout review.
Greece’s economy is on the cusp of recovery after six years of recession, expected to grow by 0.6 percent this year.
“Greece has turned the corner,” Coeure said adding that a lot remains to be done on structural reforms.
Asked about Greek banks’ capital needs that may be revealed in the ECB’s region-wide stress tests in October, Coeure gave no clues but said it was positive that banks had already successfully tapped capital markets.
“We don’t know yet whether money will be needed and how much, and in any case the first line of defense will be accessing capital markets,” he said. “There should be no worry about it, they have a proven ability to access capital markets.”
Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Renee Maltezou; Editing by Susan Fenton