ATHENS, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras hailed the ECB’s government bond buying programme but said Athens would not be able to take advantage of it unless it completed a stalled bailout review.
The European Central Bank launched a government bond-buying programme which will pump hundreds of billions of new money into a sagging euro zone economy.
Countries like Greece will be eligible as long as they are under EU/IMF bailout programmes but the eligibility is suspended until any pending review is completed with a positive outcome.
That has raised the possibility of Greece being excluded if the radical leftist Syriza party comes to power in Sunday’s general election. The party has said it will not complete the current review and wants to renegotiate debt while cancelling austerity.
“Today’s decision by European Central Bank makes it clear that without closing the review with our lenders on the current programme that ends in a month, we will be excluded,” Samaras said in a televised statement responding to the ECB’s move. (Reporting by Costas Pitas and Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Deepa Babington)