ATHENS (AFP) – Confidence is returning in Greece with money deposited in banks following an extension of the stricken eurozone country’s bailout after weeks of huge withdrawals, Athens’ finance minister was quoted as saying Thursday.
Yanis Varoufakis, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV, said that 700 million euros ($795 million) was deposited at Greek banks on Tuesday alone, the day Greece’s creditors approved the four-month bailout extension.
There were more than 20 billion euros of withdrawals since early December when elections were called and the eurozone’s most indebted country lurched into a new crisis, according to estimates reported by Bloomberg.
“There was a deposit flight back into the Greek banking sector,” Varoufakis said in the interview. “It’s a question of direction. Once you turn the tide, you hope.”
The extension to Greece’s 240-billion-euro lifeline still needs to be approved by the Greek and German parliaments, but this should be a formality despite unhappiness among some lawmakers in both countries.
To secure the breathing space, the new government of left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras published a list of proposed reforms focused on tackling tax evasion and corruption and greater government efficiencies.
Tsipras was however forced to undertake that his pre-election promises to reverse painful austerity cuts imposed over the past six years would be done in close consultation with Greece’s creditors.