GLOBAL ECONOMY

Greece's financial woes not likely to affect Spain, economy minister says

Elderly people, who usually get their pensions at the end of the month, wait outside a closed bank in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Monday, June 29, 2015. Greece's five-year financial crisis took its most dramatic turn yet, with the cabinet deciding that Greek banks would remain shut for six business days and restrictions would be imposed on cash withdrawals. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Elderly people, who usually get their pensions at the end of the month, wait outside a closed bank in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Monday, June 29, 2015. Greece's five-year financial crisis took its most dramatic turn yet, with the cabinet deciding that Greek banks would remain shut for six business days and restrictions would be imposed on cash withdrawals. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Spain's economy minister is brushing off suggestions that the possibility of a Greek exit from the eurozone could economically damage his country.

Luis de Guindos said economic contagion is much less likely to happen now than it was in 2011 and in 2012, when many feared a Greek economic implosion could destabilize Spain financially.

Spain has the eurozone's fourth largest economy, but de Guindos said there are no longer fears of contagion that would slam his country and possibly cause the breakup of the zone.

De Guindos told reporters Monday that "we're much better prepared than we were two, three years ago."

He cited moves that propped up Spanish banks saddled with toxic property and loans, a lower Spanish deficit and relatively strong economic growth.

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In the latest on the financial crisis in Greece, the government has imposed restrictions on money withdrawals and banking transactions to keep its financial system from collapsing due to a run on the banks.

Anxious Greeks rushed to ATMs to withdraw cash after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called late Friday for a referendum on the creditors' reform proposals.

Here is a look at what Greece's so-called capital controls entail.

—Banks will remain closed from Monday until at least next Monday, July 6, the day after the referendum.

—Cash withdrawals from ATMs will have a daily limit of 60 euros ($67) per card.

—Credit and debit card transactions within the country will not be limited. In practice, however, many retailers were already not accepting card transactions as of Monday morning, and were demanding cash payments only.

—Internet and phone banking within the country will have no restrictions, but no money can be transferred out of the country.

—For emergency needs, such as importing medicines or sending remittances abroad, the Greek Treasury will create a Banking Transactions Approval Committee to examine requests on a case-by-case basis.

—Foreign bank cards, whether debit or credit, will not be affected and tourists will be able to withdraw the full amounts their own banks allow them to.

The Greek government also announced on Monday that it is making public transport in Athens free while the banks are closed.

Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis says fares in greater Athens for the capital's metro, tram, bus and trolley-bus services will be scrapped effective Monday.

Fares normally cost 1.20 euros ($1.34) for a 70 minute ride on a city transport service. Spirtzis says the decision would cost the government about 4 million euros per week.

Spirtzis says the decision was only effective in greater Athens, where about 40 percent of the country's population lives.

Services in Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, are partially privatized, not allowing the government to waive fares.

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