4 Jul 2015

Foreign Office warns tourists to take cash to Greece

As Greeks prepare to vote on an international bailout of its ailing economy, visitors are warned to take plenty of cash as bank reserves reach critical levels.

Banks closed on 28 June and will stay shut until Monday at the earliest, the Foreign Office is warning.

The latest advice for Britons heading to Greece says: “Visitors to Greece should be aware of the possibility that banking services, including credit card processing and servicing of ATMs, throughout Greece could potentially become limited at short notice.

“At this time, you can continue to withdraw cash using your card as normal, up to the daily limit imposed by the Greek banking system, usually 600 euro, or the daily limit imposed by your card issuer, as long as the ATM has been replenished.

“While banks are closed in Greece and some withdrawals are limited, make sure you take sufficient euros in cash to cover the duration of your stay, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances and any unexpected delays.”

Tourists are also being warned about potential dangers to their personal safety, with demonstrations and strikes taking place.

Referendum looms

Greeks will vote on whether to accept or reject tough conditions sought by international creditors to extend lending lifeline that has kept the country afloat.

The left-wing government is urging a ‘No’ vote but opinion polls on Friday gave the ‘Yes’ camp a narrow lead in the close contest.

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has accused the country’s creditors of trying to “terrorise” voters ahead of the referendum on Sunday.

His government is calling for the creditors to restructure debt agreements and avoid a potentially catastrophic Greek exit from the eurozone.

He told El Mundo: “If Greece crashes, a trillion euros (the equivalent of Spain’s GDP) will be lost. It’s too much money and I don’t believe Europe could allow it.”

Mr Varoufakis said he would resign if Greeks vote ‘Yes’ and accused lenders of pressurising the electorate by forcing banks to close ahead of the vote.

“What they’re doing with Greece has a name: terrorism. Why have they forced us to close the banks? To frighten people.”

On Friday he told Channel 4 News’s Economics Editor Paul Mason that the international media was also stoking fears among voters in an effort to sway the vote.

He insisted a deal could be done with the lenders, saying: “There will be common ground. We have a great deal to lose and they have a great deal to lose. When there is a lot to lose, an agreement is reached.”

Read more: the full Paul Mason interview with Yanis Varoufakis