Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

ECB Said to Favor Keeping Greece Emergency Bank Aid Unchanged

The European Central Bank is likely to keep the level of emergency aid to Greek lenders on hold Thursday, people familiar with the discussions said, as political talks over the country’s bailout continue.

Current opinion in the Governing Council is for the cap on Emergency Liquidity Assistance to stay at the current 88.6 billion euros ($96.8 billion), the people said, asking not to be named as the meeting is private. The ECB’s Executive Board recommended that the limit stay in place for now, one person said. The Greek central bank asked for an increase of 1.5 billion euros, the people said. Spokesmen for the ECB and the Bank of Greece declined to comment.

While Greek lawmakers have now passed reform measures demanded by creditors in return for negotiating a third bailout package, that may not yet be enough for the ECB to change its stance. With European-led funding still not signed off, Greece’s ability to repay a 3.5 billion-euro bond to the central bank on July 20 isn’t guaranteed.

The Governing Council meeting is currently taking place in Frankfurt and no decision has been announced. ECB President Mario Draghi is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. local time. The current freeze on Greek ELA has been in place since June 28.

Greece’s parliament debated for more than four hours into early Thursday morning to approve the austerity measures that are a precondition for talks on an aid package of as much as 86 billion euros.

The country’s banks, which have been shut and under capital controls for more than two weeks, may need more liquidity on hand to allow them to reopen.

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