Greek banks to reopen, withdrawal restrictions to continue
Greek banks are scheduled to reopen on Monday following a three-week shutdown as the country struggles with a debt and finance crisis.
The Greek government, in a decree issued on Saturday, kept the daily cash withdrawal limit at 60 euros (65 dollars) but added a weekly limit, meaning that a depositor who does not withdraw cash on a certain day can take out 120 euros (130 dollars) the next day, and so on, up to 420 euros (455 dollars) a week.
Moreover, bank customers will still not be able to cash checks, and only have to deposit them into their accounts. There would also be a block on capital transfers abroad with their credit or cash cards, as well as restrictions on opening new accounts or activating dormant ones.
Greece decided to close banks on June 29 to prevent a bank run or cash transfers abroad.
The forced three-week closure has reportedly cost the country’s embattled economy almost 3.0 billion euros (3.3 billion dollars).
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras earlier reshuffled his cabinet to remove those members who were opposed to a new loan approved for the country.
Fresh-faced government-friendly cabinet members were sworn in on Saturday.
Over 30 lawmakers out of the 149 ones from the ruling Syriza Party disapproved austerity measures demanded by creditors in a recent vote in the parliament.
Greece’s former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned amid mounting pressure on him by the government over his disapproval of the austerity measures, has cast doubt on the government’s ability to employ the unpopular fiscal reforms.
In an exclusive interview with Press TV on Sunday, Stavros Mavroudeas, a professor of political economy at the University of Macedonia in Greece, said, “Capital controls on Greece have created serious economic and political problems. Economic losses are estimated at more than 3 billion euros for the Greek economy.”
Mavroudeas added, “The political problems are even more severe. The EU imposed capital controls on Greek banking sector in a blatant imperialist intervention… It obliged Greece to adopt capital controls in order to quest the Greek electorate to vote for ‘Yes’ in the last referendum. That is to vote for submitting fro capitulating to the demands of the EU.”
“The political blackmail backfired as the vast majority of the people voted for ‘No’ in the referendum. However, immediately afterwards, Syriza reneged on the referendum, and accepted a third troika austerity program,” he pointed out.
On Friday, the European Union (EU) formally approved a short-term loan of 7.16 billion euros (7.77 billion US dollars) to debt-wracked Greece as Athens and its creditors are working to reach an agreement on a new bailout package.
Greece received two bailouts worth a total of 240 billion euros (272 billion dollars) in 2010 and 2012 from its troika of international lenders – the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank – following the 2009 economic crisis.