Gov’t eyes cap­i­tal con­trols

BoG gover­nor un­veils pro­posed changes to re­stric­tions in­tro­duced last year

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Bank of Greece Gover­nor Yan­nis Stournaras yes­ter­day laid out a se­ries of mea­sures that Athens has pro­posed to the country’s cred­i­tors to re­lax cap­i­tal con­trols in­tro­duced last sum­mer.

Un­der Greece’s pro­posal, the cap­i­tal con­trols will not ap­ply to cash that is trans­ferred from bank de­posit boxes or peo­ple’s homes to their bank ac­counts. The re­stric­tions will also cease to ap­ply when it comes to the re­pay­ment of bank loans. Fur­ther, as re­gards sums trans­ferred into the country, de­pos­i­tors will have ac­cess to up to a third of the amount, com­pared to a tenth now.

An ad­di­tional mea­sure that Greece has pro­posed to its cred­i­tors is to al­low savers to with­draw up to 840 eu­ros in one go ev­ery two weeks. Cur­rently, savers can with­draw a max­i­mum of 420 eu­ros ev­ery week.

Athens is also propos­ing to ac­cel­er­ate the process of ap­prov­ing bank trans­fers abroad by in­creas­ing the max­i­mum amount of trans­fers ap­proved by each bank’s com­mit­tee to 350,000 eu­ros from 250,000 eu­ros per cus­tomer per day. The aim is to have busi­nesses served within a day of their ap­pli­ca­tion for a bank trans­fer.

The pro­pos­als all have to be ex­am­ined by Greece’s cred­i­tors, which are wait­ing for Athens to take ac­tion on la­bor reg­u­la­tions and non­per­form­ing loans, among other re­forms.

Apart from deal­ing with the cred­i­tors, the govern­ment also faces chal­lenges at the do­mes­tic level.

As time is press­ing for ne­go­ti­a­tions to start with the cred­i­tors over the sec­ond re­view of the country’s bailout, the govern­ment is de­ter­mined to fo­cus the public de­bate on three main ob­jec­tives: in­tro­duc­ing elec­toral re­form, push­ing through changes to the country’s me­dia broad­cast­ing land­scape and a re­view of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Crit­ics have ac­cused the Tsipras ad­min­is­tra­tion of try­ing to di­vert at­ten­tion away from the tough ne­go­ti­a­tions that lie ahead with the lenders, while sources say it wants these in­sti­tu­tional changes to be its legacy.

With re­gard to the new elec­toral law, the govern­ment is still strug­gling to muster the 200 votes needed in Par­lia­ment to pass it into law.

How­ever, aides to the PM say there is still hope that some op­po­si­tion par­ties – namely PASOK and To Po­tami – will get on board.

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