Greek banks to re-open ′gradually′ on Monday, says finance ministry | News | DW | 16.07.2015
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Greek banks to re-open 'gradually' on Monday, says finance ministry

Greece's finance ministry has stated that banks will re-open on Monday after being closed three weeks ago, when capital controls were implemented. The decision comes ahead of a Bundestag vote to open negotations.

Greece's Ministry of Finance said on Thursday that banks are set to re-open across the country by Monday.

The announcement follows three weeks of capital controls, which forced banks to close and implemented a withdrawal limit of 60 euros ($65.26) per day. The ministry said restrictions, including withdrawal limits, would be "gradually" lifted.

According to the finance ministry, the extension of capital controls was necessary "to protect the Greek financial system and economy because of a lack of liquidity."

On Thursday, head of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi said the bank would increase Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) to Greece by 900 million euros ($978.67 million).

Greece's stock market has remained closed since capital controls were announced on June 28, a week before a snap referendum on a proposal put forth by the country's creditors.

Streamlining VAT system

The finance ministry also noted that it would begin implementing changes to value added tax (VAT) from Monday.

VAT system reforms were one of the key subjects of debate during negotiations between Greece and its creditors, which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras initially rejected under the mantle of anti-austerity.

However, Tsipras promised "the streamlining of the VAT system" in an agreement on Monday signed with European partners in order to begin new negotiations on a third bailout program.

"We will go ahead with the necessary actions so that the implementation of the new provisions can begin from Monday Jul 20," the ministry statement noted.

'Grexit' still on the horizon?

Meanwhile, ahead of a parliamentary vote on Friday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble questioned the likelihood of a third bailout for debt-stricken Greece.

"We will now see in the negotiations whether there is even a way to get to a new program taking into account [Greece's] financing needs, which have risen incredibly," Schäuble told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Schäuble's statements come as a break from Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has cautiously pushed for a mandate from the Bundestag to initiate negotiations on a third bailout program.

After meeting politicians from Germany's Social Democrat party (SPD) in Berlin, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said there needed to be an end to talks of Greece's exit from the eurozone.

"I would certainly be very happy if the talk about Grexit could stop and we could talk about getting Greece back on track and that's what we aim to do with this program," said Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch finance minister.

ls/jil (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)