Saturday 22 October 2016

With the cash running out, anxious Greeks put hopes in fresh EU talks


As the Greek public digested the news of a resounding 'No' vote, thoughts immediately turned to how the country would survive in the short term.

Banks remained closed yesterday. The daily withdrawal limit remains €60, but banks have now run out of €20 notes - meaning the real limit is €50 a day.

Those queuing were resigned to the fact the limit would not be lifted in the short-term, with no hopes of the banks re-opening this week.

As the Government tried to allay fears about the country running out of cash, it made public transport free throughout Athens.

While the metro and trams in the city had initially been free for a week until the referendum, signs erected overnight stated that all such transport would now be free until further notice.


Workers in the tourist industry in Athens said the instability had caused a massive drop off in bookings, especially among Greeks.

"Our domestic market is gone - there are no bookings. We are surviving because that market is only 20pc-25pc of our business and so far the rest is OK, but we are concerned," said Richard Stanton (36), who said they were now having problems paying their travel providers abroad.

"We have our cash in Greece as a company and we cannot access this cash. We are not able to pay our providers for tickets from outside.

"It is a very worrying time," he added.

George Gregorious (68) worked for the Union of Airlines in Greece, representing airlines and tourist agencies, until he was let go last week.

"I had expected it to happen. There has been such a drop, they could not keep the jobs. If we do not reach an agreement soon it will be disastrous for Greece," he said.

As Greeks turn their attentions towards the EU, the news that Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had resigned and was to be replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos was met with mixed reactions.

Mr Gregorious voted for the European deal, but said he was concerned that the outspoken minister would no longer be part of any future negotiations.

"I was not in favour of the move, but now the Greek people have spoken we must act as one.

"I like Varoufakis. I have read all his books and I admire him. While I did not agree with the plans he put forward - and I believe he reacted too powerfully - now is the moment when he is needed the most," he added.


Tina Myntz Zymaraki said she believed the decision by the divisive minister was the right one.

"I think it is a good compromise - that he is staying on board as an advisor, but taking a step back as minister. Any 'Yes' voter cannot stand the sight of him, so I think this is a decent compromise as it appeases those who hate him," she added.

Ms Zymaraki (40) did not vote in Sunday's referendum because she was too conflicted on the decision. However, she criticised some businesses that she claimed had pressured staff to vote 'Yes'.

"I was undecided on how to vote, so I didn't want to do either. But I am proud of the 'No' decision. I feel either way we have a long road ahead of us.

"I didn't appreciate my family trying to force me to vote 'Yes' - and I know friends who were pressurised by their employers," she added.

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