Austria's Nowotny: Lower interest rates for Greece, Ireland if conditions met

European Central Bank board member Ewald Nowotny on Wednesday said Greece and Ireland could get lower interest against their loans on certain preconditions, such as greater efforts to achieve structural reforms and guarantees that similar problems do not appear in the future.

In an interview with Austrian radio, Nowotny, a member of ECB’s board and president of the Austrian central bank, said some adjustments can be made, but without these preconditions there was no reason to change anything.

The Austrian central banker also stressed that he did not support a restructuring of the Greek debt, adding that in the past, creditors did not take in mind any financial risk, something that kept interests at very low levels for Greece. He also noted that different risk rates should be reflected on interest rates and prices.

In another development, Nowotny cited personal reasons when asked if he would consider being a candidate to succeed Jean-Claude Trichet at the ECB helm.

Finally, Nowotny expressed a positive assessment over the proposed Competitiveness Pact. He noted that current imbalances could be corrected through coordination in taxation, wage, technological and fiscal policies, towards common "European economic governance".

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