Greek banks to re-open on Monday, deprivations remain

18 Jul 2015


Prime Minister Alexis TsiprasThe Greek government ordered banks to open on Monday and slightly relaxed withdrawal limits after a three-week shut-down aimed at preventing a collapse of the banking system.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also reshuffled his cabinet, replacing dissident members of his ruling Syriza party following a revolt over the tough bailout terms. But Greece's woes are not yet over.

The reshuffle, in which Tsipras replaced cabinet rebels with other members of his own party or from his junior coalition partners, the right-wing Independent Greeks party, allowed the government to ''adjust to a new reality''.

Parliament's approval for tough austerity measures proposed by the European Central Bank would help unblock emergency funding, helping crippled Greek banking sector to stay afloat.

Instead of the 60 euro daily withdrawal limit set when the banks were closed on 29 June, the government has now allowed customers to take out up to 420 euros a week.

Holders of Greek bank cards will also be able to use them to make payments while they are out of the country.

But the bans on foreign transfers and other capital controls remain in place, according to a government decree published on Saturday.

Tsipras now hopes to seal a bailout accord with European partners over the next few weeks, before a possible fall of the government that dissidents have forecast. Cabinet ministers said despite the terms of the agreement, the government would stick to its anti-austerity platform.

''Our aim is to negotiate hard for the terms of the agreement, not just to seal it, but on how it will be implemented. There are many vague terms in the text,'' said newly-appointed labour minister George Katrougalos.

He said the government would fight for an agreement that was ''socially just'' and dismissed suggestions that it would have to take on the powerful labour unions and risk street protests.

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