Given the Government's decision to leave the future of the negotiations between Greece and the creditors in the hands of the people, the Greeks face divided what message they want to transfer to Europe in the referendum to which they have been called to participate on July 5.
After midnight this Friday to Saturday, the announcement by the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, to hold a referendum augured a scenario of great nervousness among the population due to the possible application of capital controls. In fact, since the announcement of Tsipras have been withdrawn from banks about 400 million euros, as reported by the Greek television network Mega.
Before the influx of customers, some cashiers have run out of cash, but soon they will receive new liquidity Although already at dawn in some areas of Athens began to form small lines before the ATMs of banks, the atmosphere this Saturday on the street It was panic. Although in the early hours you could see rows in the ATMs of the city center, whose length depended on the type of branch in question, as the day progressed, normality prevailed and the presentation was the usual, from two to three people.
Given the influx of customers, some cashiers have run out of cash, but soon they will receive new liquidity, according to Luka Katseli, president of the Greek Banking Union.
Among the population there is concern about what may come in the future and the logical nerves to not being able to access their funds, especially being at the end of the month, for many dates of collection of salaries and pensions and payment of bills.
"Citizens should not fear, there is no blackmail, banks will not close and ATMs will have cash, " said Hellenic Defense Minister Panos Kammenos.
For the moment, this withdrawal has not reached magnitudes similar to those experienced in Cyprus two years ago when, in the heat of the negotiations between Nicosia and the creditors that preceded the bank rescue and the installation of a corralito, there was an avalanche on the ATMs automatic
Division of opinions before the referendum
In the middle of the usual bustle in the most central streets of Athens, at this time especially populated by tourists, the conversations in many terraces were on Saturday about the referendum.
Among those who consider that it is the moment of citizenship to decide on the policies they have suffered during the last six years, especially hard for the middle classes, is Maria.
I will vote no, because this country has many resources and can stand up even if it is outside the euro This woman, in her fifties, is dedicated to selling hair accessories on the street and is happy to be able to pronounce herself if finally the consultation is called on Sunday of next week. " I am going to vote no because this country has many resources and can stand up even if it is outside the euro, I trust that," says María.
Similarly, says Kostas, also a businessman, who supports the Executive's decision to leave the decision in the hands of citizens. "I think he did well, the people must decide if the people believe that this policy of austerity imposed on us by Europe for so many years is correct, that they vote for it, if not, that they reject it. course, "he says.
Others like Thasos or Yorgos, a businessman and a commercial respectively, criticize that the Government has not taken the decision to reject the proposal of the institutions and pass the ball to the citizens. "I am an entrepreneur and I need stability, and the situation lately does not offer stability, whatever the outcome is positive and we will enter into a positive process, win the 'yes' or the 'no'," says Tasos.
Yorgos is more critical of the attitude of the Government, which reproaches not to exercise the "responsibility" to make a decision "despite all the promises he had made to the people." "I am willing to vote yes to Europe, yes to the euro and yes to the proposals made by those who want to save us because they actually lend us money to survive," he says.
On the possible imposition of capital control to prevent the massive flight of money, which in recent days has already affected the Greek economy - it is estimated that between 3,000 and 5,000 million euros have been released from the country - many they believe it is a necessary action to safeguard cash reserves.
The ECB increases emergency liquidity
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) has continued to raise the maximum amount of emergency loans that Greek banks can request from the Bank of Greece to have sufficient liquidity. Withdrawals of cash - which last week reached more than 1 billion euros - have made Hellenic banks dependent on central bank financing to stay afloat.
The ECB is helping the Greek banks in the very short term with the increases in emergency liquidity (through the ELA assistance mechanism) that they can request through the Bank of Greece, although at a higher interest than the one currently requested by the ECB in its ordinary refinancing operations of 0.05%.
On a weekly basis, the ECB has been approving emergency funds and has met almost daily in the last week. However, given the lack of agreement between Greece and the Eurogroup on Saturday, the ECB's governing council has agreed to meet on Sunday to discuss the situation in Greece and its banks: "The ECB is closely monitoring the situation," he added. the agency in a statement.
The Eurozone's finance and economy ministers rejected the extension of the Greek bailout beyond June 30, when the program expires, and they have met without Greece to decide, unilaterally, on the "steps" to safeguard the stability of the eurozone.