Greece’s Yanis Varoufakis prepares for economic siege as companies issue private currencies

Greek finance minister says the country has a six-month stock of oil and four months of pharmaceuticals

Greece has stockpiled enough reserves of fuel and pharmaceutical supplies to withstand a long siege, and has set aside emergency funding to cover all the country’s vitally-needed food imports.

Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister, said the left-Wing Syriza government is still working on the assumption that Europe’s creditor powers will return to the negotiating table if the Greek people don’t agree to their austerity demands in a referendum on Sunday, but it stands ready to fight unless it secures major debt relief.

“Luckily we have six months stocks of oil and four months stocks of pharmaceuticals,” he told The Telegraph.

Mr Varoufakis said a special five-man committee from the Greek treasury, the Bank of Greece, the trade unions and the private banks is working feverishly in a “war room” near his office allocating precious reserves for top priorities.

Food has been exempted from an import freeze since capital controls were introduced last weekend. Grains, meats, dairy products, and other foodstuffs should be able to enter the country freely, averting a potential disaster as the full tourist season kicks off.

The cash reserves of the banks are dwindling fast as citizens pull the maximum €60 a day allowed under the emergency directive – already €50 at many banks. “We can last through to the weekend and probably to Monday,” Mr Varoufakis said.

Despite assurances, the crisis is likely to escalate fast if there is no resolution early next week. Businesses in Thessaloniki and other parts of the country are already creating parallel private currencies to keep trade alive and alleviate an acute shortage of liquidity.

Vasilis Papadopoulos, owner of the Maxi paper mill in Katerini, said the situation was becoming desperate for his industry. “I have enough raw materials to last until July 14. If I don’t get any more pulp, I will have to close the factory. It is a simple as that. I have 183 employees and I will have to start laying them off,” he said.

Mr Papadopoulis, who manufactures paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper – partially for export – said a consignment of 3,000 tonnes of pulp from Finland was stranded in the port of Salonica. “I can’t pay the suppliers because the bank is blocked, so they won’t release it,” he said.

Full article: Greece’s Yanis Varoufakis prepares for economic siege as companies issue private currencies (The Telegraph)

Comments are closed.