Free Press Journal

Greece’s neighbours take steps to shield banks, economies


Anxious Greeks: People line up at an ATM outside a National bank branch, in central Athens, on Monday.Athens : People line up at an ATM outside a National bank branch, in central Athens, on Monday, June 29, 2015. Anxious Greeks lined up at ATMs as they gradually began dispensing cash again on the first day of capital controls imposed in a dramatic twist in Greece’s five-year financial saga. Banks will remain shut until next Monday, and a daily limit of 60 euros ($67) has been placed on cash withdrawals from ATMs. AP/PTI(AP6_29_2015_000104B)

Skopje : Greece’s regional neighbours took measures to protect their banks and economies from the escalating financial crisis there and the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro. Athens announced capital controls following a collapse in bailout negotiations with its creditors, which will see banks closed temporarily and international transfers vetted. In Serbia, the central bank said it had put into place temporary measures on banks with Greek owners.

The measures include “additional controls and transaction limits between branches in Serbia and their parent banks in Greece,” it said.  “The goal of these measures is to prevent negative effects on the Serbian banking sector” from the crisis in Greece, the National Bank of Serbia said.

Meanwhile, Macedonia ordered its banks to pull back their deposits from Greek banks. The Macedonian central bank also imposed restrictions limiting the outflow of capital to Greece.

Bulgaria for its part has not taken any special measures, with the central bank insisting the country is insulated from the Greek crisis, including banks with Greek shareholders, which account for a fifth of Bulgaria’s banking industry.

It added that banks with Greek shareholders had sufficient cash flow, and had above-average levels of liquidity and capital adequacy, which guarantees their “stability and independence from negative developments in other countries”. The governor of Albania’s central bank said the crisis would have an impact on the country’s economy.    (AFP)

‘Betrayed’ Juncker urges Greece to vote ‘Yes’ to stay in euro zone

Brussels : European Commission head Jean Claude Juncker urged Greece to vote “yes” in a referendum on bailout proposals or leave the euro as a bank shutdown ordered by Athens left the Greeks desperately scrambling for cash.

A visibly emotional Juncker launched a blunt attack on Greek premier Alexis Tsipras, saying he felt “betrayed” by the leftist government’s behaviour and adding it was time for them to tell voters “the truth”.  With capital controls in place, Greece is hurtling toward an IMF default today and possible exit from the euro after shock breakdown of debt talks with creditors on Saturday.

“I will tell the Greeks, who I love deeply, that you shouldn’t choose suicide just because you are afraid of death,” the former Luxembourg premier said.

“A ‘No’ would mean, regardless of the question posed, that Greece had said no to Europe,” he added. Juncker’s frustration at 40-year-old Tsipras was particularly poignant because, in five months of fraught debt talks, the EU chief has been Greece’s closest and sometimes only ally. In response, Athens swiftly questioned Juncker’s “sincerity” in the talks.

Tsipras stunned Europe by calling a referendum for July 5 in which Greeks must decide whether to back a bailout agreement with creditors.