Finance ministry lifts capital controls on domestic withdrawals

eKathimerini — Greece’s Finance Ministry announced on Thursday it is lifting all capital controls on cash withdrawals and the movement of capital within the country.

The decision will take effect on October 1, the ministry said in a press release.

The ministry also raised the ceiling in the movement of capital abroad: Greek account holders will be able to withdraw up to 5,000 euros in banks abroad.

Additionally, the amount of euros or foreign currency allowed to be transferred from Greece to other countries is raised from 3,000 to 10,000 euros.

Businesspeople and companies will be allowed to send abroad up to 100,000 euros from 40,000 euros today, as part of their business activities. The amount applies to every transfer per client, per day.

Capital controls were introduced in Greece in June 2015, when Greece’s government came to the end of its bailout extension period without having come to an agreement on a further extension with its creditors and the European Central Bank decided to freeze the level of its Emergency Liquidity Assistance for Greek banks as a means of forcing the Greek government to accept the third bailout package or resign.

The government was forced to close banks for almost 20 days, to implement controls on bank transfers from Greek banks to foreign banks and limit cash withdrawals to avoid an uncontrolled bank run and a complete collapse of the Greek banking system.

Greeks overwhelmingly rejected the terms of the third bailout in a referendum while the capital controls were in force, but the government felt it had no option but to accept the lenders’ terms and resigned. The general election returned the SYRIZA government to power, to implement the terms of the third bailout package.