Greeks have formed sullen queues outside banks around the nation. For the first time in three weeks financial institutions have reopened; but with strict security and conditions attached.

The 60 euro withdrawal allowance is still in place (420 a week lump sum). Money is still not allowed to be sent offshore. And cash is still king.

The bank staff are working under tense conditions. Eruptions of ill-directed anger are common. And the roller-doors covering the window fronts of banks are smeared with hateful graffiti.

“Nothing has changed, nothing,” said Angelos, 38. “Instead of using machines to withdraw 60 euros a day we can now take a week’s worth in a day – well that won’t make our lives any better.

The hardest to be hit are pensioners. People who are being stripped of their entitlements and forced to stand for long periods to get their own money.

“We’ve already been humiliated as a country,” said retiree Anastasios, “but we are picking up the pieces, hopefully we learn from our mistakes. The (bank) doors are opening just for confidence.”

The closure of the banks is estimated to have cost the economy AUD $4.4 billion. But reopening them hasn’t turned that around.

From this week the tax on goods and services has been raised to a crushing 23 per cent. These (and other taxes) were agreed to by the Greek leaders against the wishes of voters. The imposition of taxes unlocks a third three-yuear bailout package worth more than AUD $100 billion.

Whether the Greeks will benefit from this package, or just sink under even more debt, remains to be seen.

Trading on the Greek stock exchange remains suspended.

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