Greek banks to re-open Monday as Tsipras eyes new start

Sat Jul 18, 2015 9:10am EDT
 
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By Karolina Tagaris

ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek government ordered banks to open on Monday, three weeks after they were shut down to prevent the system collapsing under a flood of withdrawals, as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras looked to the start of new bailout talks next week.

The decree to re-open the banks came hours after new ministers were sworn in following a cabinet reshuffle in which Tsipras replaced dissident members of his ruling Syriza party following a revolt over the tough bailout terms.

In a move that marked a split with the main leftist faction in the ruling Syriza party, Tsipras sacked hardline former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and two deputy ministers following a party rebellion in which 39 Syriza lawmakers withheld support from the government over the package.

Panos Skourletis, a close Tsipras ally who left the labor ministry to take over the vital energy portfolio, said the reshuffle marked "an adjustment by the government to a new reality".

The reshuffle allowed Tsipras to replace cabinet rebels with allies of his own or from his junior coalition partners, the right-wing Independent Greeks party.

The first action of the new cabinet was to sign off on a decree to reopen banks on Monday with slightly more flexible withdrawal limits that allow a maximum of 420 euros a week in place of the strict limit of 60 euros a day currently in place.

But restrictions on transfers abroad and other capital controls remain in place.

The move had been widely expected after the European Central Bank agreed to re-open the emergency credit lines which the tottering Greek banking sector needs to survive.   Continued...

 
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras waves to journalists as he arrives at his office at the Maximos Mansion  after a swearing in ceremony of members of his government at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou