Finance minister say capital controls to be gradually relaxed

5 July 2016
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Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos on Tuesday said that steps are being taken to relax capital controls – in place for the past year – as early as next week, adding that he does not consider the restrictions imposed in the summer of 2015 to stem a flight of capital to be too strict.

Speaking on ERT public television, Tsakalotos said that the first round of measures to lift restrictions would be geared towards benefitting exporters. He added that additional steps will be considered on a monthly basis but said that he does not expect a full lifting of the controls until after Greece receives a positive report from its international creditors over its second bailout review.

“We have no interest in delaying [the review] and we have to be consistent with our obligations so as to create the necessary stability,” Tsakalotos said, conceding, however, that negotiations are not expected to be conducted without some “clashes and differences.”

Tsakalotos stressed the need for a commitment from creditors on a lightening of Greece’s debt load, saying that the International Monetary Fund has supported this view. He added that delays in talks are often due to a difference of opinion between the four institutions in charge of the country’s bailout program – such as over the debt – and that this cannot be ruled out from reoccurring in the new round of negotiations.

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