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Crisis escalating as deadline looms

Holidaymakers urged to take cash as Greek banks close

GreeceTens of thousands of holidaymakers will descend on Greece this week to find the banks closed and tensions rising ahead of a referendum next weekend and the possibility of it crashing out of the euro.

The Foreign Office has updated its advice for those travelling to the country with a warning that access to banking services may become limited at short notice.

US President Barack Obama intervened in the crisis, urging German Chancellor Angela Merkel to do what was required to ensure Greece remained in the euro.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras tonight issued an appeal for calm, offering reassurance that deposits are secure. His announcement came amid scenes of queuing at banks as worried residents withdraw money from cash dispensers.

Mr Tsipras said the Greek central bank has been forced to recommend a bank holiday and the introduction of capital controls as it attempts to control an escalating financial crisis.

The British Foreign Office said on its website: “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.”

It recommends travellers to take more than one means of payment with them including cash, debit cards or credit cards. Experts are advising anyone visiting Greece to ensure they have plenty of cash.

Ironically, more Britons have been encouraged to choose Greece as the price of holidays has fallen.

Mr Tsipras blames the European Central Bank, and other institutions, for trying to obstruct the democratic referendum he has called for next Sunday.

He claimed the cuts to pensions and higher taxes are “humiliating” and decided to put the issue to the people in a surprise move announced on Friday night.

Greece is due to make a €1.6 billion (£1.1bn) payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday when its current bailout expires.

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