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Greek banks closed as EU holds firm on debt

By AP Reporters

Greece's banks will close today and remain shut for an unspecified time, the country's prime minister has said.

The country is also imposing restrictions on bank withdrawals following a recommendation by the Bank of Greece.

The move came after two days of long lines forming at ATMs across the country, following Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' sudden decision to call a referendum on creditor proposals for Greek reforms in return for vital bailout funds.

Earlier, the European Central Bank decided not to increase the amount of emergency funding Greek lenders can access from the central bank - meaning they have no way to replenish fast diminishing deposits.

"It is more than clear this decision has no other aim than to blackmail the will of the Greek people and prevent the smooth democratic process of the referendum," Mr Tsipras said.

The referendum is set for next Sunday. But Greece's current bailout expires on Tuesday, and the £5.1bn remaining in it will no longer be available to Greece after that date.

Without it, Greece is unlikely to be able to pay a £1.1bn International Monetary Fund debt repayment due the same day.

Two financial sector officials said the banks would likely remain shut for several days.

Belfast Telegraph


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