European Central Bank head Mario Draghi has said the bank is ready to restore support for Greece’s banks if talks between the Greek government and its creditors get back on track.
Mr Draghi told EU parliamentarians that the parties should “restore the policy dialogue” so talks can could yield “a credible prospect” for a deal on more emergency aid.
Greece and its creditors in the 19-country eurozone have sparred over the conditions Greece needs to fulfil to get more help to avoid defaulting on its debts.
Once a deal is in sight, Mr Draghi said the ECB could restore the ability for Greek banks to tap ECB credit using Greek government bonds as collateral.
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras is meeting German chancellor Angela Merkel to try to break the deadlock.
Mr Draghi rejected a comment from one politician that the ECB was “blackmailing” Greece into yielding to creditor conditions.
He noted that the ECB held 104 billion euro (£82bn) of credit exposure to Greece.
“What kind of blackmail is this?” he asked, before calling the statement “a bit rich”.
“We are not creating rules for Greece,” Mr Draghi said, “we are simply observing existing rules”.
Mr Tsipras’s visit comes after Mrs Merkel and other European leaders told him last week to come up with budget cuts and tax increases which would enable him to get urgently needed bailout money.