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EU says Greek controls should be for 'shortest possible period'

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Greece's capital controls should remain in place for the "shortest possible period," European Commission Financial-Services Commissioner Jonathan Hill said.

[BRUSSELS] Greece's capital controls should remain in place for the "shortest possible period," European Commission Financial-Services Commissioner Jonathan Hill said.

"While the imposed restrictive measures appear necessary and proportionate at this time, the free movement of capital will however need to be reinstated as soon as possible in the interest of the Greek economy, the euro zone, and the European Union's single market as a whole," Mr Hill said Monday in a statement.

The Brussels-based European Commission said Greece's capital controls are in line with EU law and treaties. Temporary controls appear justified as a matter of "overriding public interest," Mr Hill said.

"Maintaining financial stability is the main and immediate challenge for the country," Mr Hill said. He said the commission would monitor developments closely and stands ready to help the Greek authorities with technical work.

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Greece also can restart negotiations on the bailout deal, which have been suspended since Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on Friday for a referendum, EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said. He said Greece and its creditors are "a few centimeters from a deal" and he hopes to move past the impasse.

"The door is open to negotiations," Mr Moscovici said on Twitter. "Greece is a member of the euro zone. It should stay there."

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