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Total Lifting of Capital Controls in Greece

Maria Tsiligiri

Margaropoulos & Associates - Scientia Legis Law Firm

September 1st, 2019 marks the end of Capital controls in Greece, after four years.

The European Commission on Tuesday, 27.8.2019, called this decision by the Greek government as an "important milestone" and "yet another sign that confidence continues to build on Greece's economic recovery."

The announcement of newly elected Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis came after consulting with the country’s banks and the Hellenic Capital Market Commission. "We are fully restoring normality in capital movements. From today, capital controls are a thing of the past.", he said. "Today a destabilizing factor, an instability factor for the banking system is lifted," the Minister of Finance, Christos Staikouras said in parliament.

The capital controls had been imposed in 28th June 2015 after a prolonged period of negotiations of the then government with Greece’s lenders, which resulted in stopping emergency funding by the EU and IMF and panicking depositors, who made millions of Euros withdrawals for the fear of a disorderly (GR) exit. A three-week shutdown of all banks was then forced and people were limited to cash withdrawals of €60 per day. Although some of the restrictions have been gradually lifted, limits on money transfers abroad and business transactions still remained, preventing Greece from restoring confidence and returning to normality, a step finally made.

Since September 1st, there is free movement of the capitals: individuals and companies are fully able to transfer capitals abroad. The country now has much better domestic and foreign investment prospects, while the bond yields are now at a record low, as confidence in the country’s development prospects is being restored.

Prepared by Maria Tsiligkiri, Partner, Margaropoulos & Associates, Scientia Legis law firm, Greece.

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