ECONOMY

Greek Law

It is common knowledge that from January 1, 2002, the Greek drachma (GRD) will no longer be Greece’s national currency. It will be replaced by the euro. In this article, I will explain the conditions and consequences of the introduction of the euro, with special reference to bank checks. The Greek drachma will circulate up to, and including, February 28, 2002, but it will be used only for cash transactions. The big change concerns the bank checks. If a bank check is drawn in GRD, with an issuing date up to December 31, 2001, the bank will honor the check, but in euros and not in GRD, using the fixed exchange rate of 1 euro = 340.75 GRD. If a bank check drawn in GRD is issued after December 31, 2001, it will not be valid. This means that a check which is issued after December 31, 2001 in GRD, will not be accepted and will not be paid by the banks. In order to avoid such an unpleasant surprise, bear in mind the following: 1. Do not accept bank checks in Greek drachmas whose issuing date is January 1, 2002 and after. 2. If you happen to have checks in your hands issued in GRD after December 31, 2001, you should replace them with checks drawn in euros. 3. Do not issue bank checks in GRD after December 31, 2001. 4. If you intend to issue bank checks after December 31, 2001, make sure they are issued in euros. 5. In case you have to issue bank checks now, but postdated for 2002, you must go to your bank, open an account in euros and receive a checkbook in euros. If you can wait, GRD accounts will be automatically converted to euro accounts on January 1, 2002. In any case, consult your bank. They will be able to advise you properly on the above matters. ,Athina Tsakirakis is a lawyer. Her column, Greek Law, appears in the English edition of Kathimerini twice a month.