Greek banks re-open after three weeks of closure

Greek banks open their doors on Monday after remaining closed for several weeks to avert fatal collapse

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Basic banking services in Greece resume on Monday but several restrictions remain in place. Meanwhile, Athens prepares to engage in a new set of aid talks to secure much needed bailout funds. 

The decision came after Greece reached an aid for reforms deal with its international creditors last week, saving the debt strapped country from falling into bankruptcy. 

Although the Greek public continues to face restrictions on daily withdrawals, the limit has now been adjusted to a cumulative maximum of €420 a week from the previous daily limit of €60. 

Capital restrictions do not affect deposit boxes, therefore, the Greek public is free to take as much as needed from them, bank officials have said.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was not pleased with the amendments. "That's not a normal life so we have to negotiate quickly," she said during an interview with German public broadcaster ARD.

"Capital controls and restrictions on withdrawals will remain in place but we are entering a new stage which we all hope will be one of normality," the head of Greece's banking association Louka Katseli told Skai television.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to a package of reforms in order to instill a sense of trust among his country’s international creditors and begin talks on the proposed €86bn bailout. Following this, the Greek public is now expected to pay more for goods and services as value added tax (VAT) in the country is hiked from 13 percent to 23 percent. 

The Greek government will undergo another parliamentary vote on Wednesday where a second package of conditions will be laid out for further emergency funding. 

The European Union has approved €7 billion ($7.6 billion) in bridge loans to Greece which is needed for Athens to repay the European Central Bank €3.5 billion of bonds and roughly €700 million in interest on Monday


TRTWorld and agencies