Greece’s four neighbouring countries have issued assurances in the wake of the country’s financial and economic crisis, imposition of bank closures and credit controls and as it appears headed for default.
In three cases, Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia, the assurances have been to the countries’ citizens, while Turkey on June 30 issued an assurance to Greece itself, with Ankara saying that it was “ready to help” by boosting co-operation with Greece in tourism, energy and trade.
Of Greece’s four neighbours, none is a member of the euro zone and only one, Bulgaria, is a member of the EU.
In Macedonia, there have been growing concerns about the Greek crisis, but bank authorities in Skopje have said that the crisis cannot threaten the banking sector of the country. However, there are concerns that the situation may infect Macedonia because of commercial ties, the Independent Balkan News Agency reports.
Macedonia’s central bank has taken several measures as of June 30, applicable to banks and companies.
The central bank in Skopje ordered all banks in Macedonia to withdraw the funds that they have in Greek banks or their branches.Some the banks that operate in the former Yugoslav republic have deposits in branches of Greek banks in Romania and Malta, which they must withdraw. Companies also have been ordered not to make payments to Greek banks’ accounts.
“Banks and companies cannot make payments or invest in businesses in Greece. The central bank will monitor, but banks too must be cautious to control every transaction toward Greece at a value greater than 10 000 euro,” said the governor of Macedonia’s central bank, Dimitar Bogov.
The central bank in Skopje said that in case of the worst scenario of Greece going bankrupt, this would have no impact in the banking sector in Macedonia.
In Albania, in view of the recent situation in Greece, the Albanian Association of Banks (AAB), on behalf of its member banks said that it wanted to reassure the public and all depositors and customers that the developments in the banking systems of the neighbouring country do not affect the stability and normal functioning of the Albanian banks.
“Any actions of the Greek government and central bank about imposing measures on the Greek financial system have no legal effect in Albania, and can in no way affect the normal functioning and the stability of the Albanian banking system,” AAB said, as reported by the Independent Balkan News Agency.
AAB’s declaration followed public concern among many Albanian citizens who have deposited money in Greek banks that operate in Albania such as Alpha Bank, NBG and Piraeus Bank (Tirana Bank).
“The Albanian banking system, including banks with Greek shareholding, is financially and operationally independent from the banking systems of other countries,” AAB said.
In Ankara, Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on June 30 that was “ready to help” Greece out of its crisis.
“We are ready to help Greece survive its economic crisis with co-operation in tourism, energy, trade,” Davutoğlu said, according to international and Turkish media reports.
Davutoğlu said that the Turkish government would contact the Greek government to hold a high-level co-operation council meeting as soon as possible to consider joint steps on the financial crisis after the new Turkish government is formed.
Davutoğlu said that Turkey wants to live “in peace,” and had no interest in seeing Greece “languish.”
Turkish presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said that Turkey was ready to provide any type of assistance to Greece at this difficult time.
In Sofia, central Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) issued a statement on June 29 saying that the Bulgarian banking system, including banks with Greek shareholding, was completely independent financially and operationally from the banking systems of other countries.
BNB said that the Bulgarian banking system, including the banks with Greek shareholding, has no receivables from Greek credit institutions and has no investments in securities of the Greek government.
“Negative developments in the banking systems of other countries cannot influence directly on the stability and normal functioning of the Bulgarian banking system,” BNB said.
Bulgaria’s banking system operates at very high levels of capital adequacy and liquidity which guarantees its stability, normal functioning and independence from negative developments in neighbouring countries, the central bank said.
“As a result of the measures consistently applied by the BNB, the banks with Greek shareholding maintain levels of liquidity and capital adequacy above the average for the banking system in Bulgaria.”
“Any actions of the Greek government and central bank about imposing measures on the Greek financial system have no legal effect in Bulgaria and can in no way whatsoever affect the normal functioning and the stability of the Bulgarian banking system,” BNB said.
Interviewed on June 30 by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov said that Bulgarians could be assured that even the most severe crisis in Greece could not affect the Bulgarian banking sector.
Mitov said that it was important to tell Bulgarians that over the years, Bulgaria had managed to get prepared for such a crisis, and he reiterated that recently, the Bulgarian government had been taking all measures to guarantee the deposits in Greek banks operating in Bulgaria. “There is serious liquidity there,” he said.