News / Europe

Cyprus: Bailout Terms 'Painful' but Necessary

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades speaks with the media after an emergency eurogroup meeting in Brussels, March 25, 2013.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades speaks with the media after an emergency eurogroup meeting in Brussels, March 25, 2013.
VOA News
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades says the terms of his country's new $13 billion bailout are "painful," but that he had to agree to the deal with international lenders to keep the island nation from economic collapse.

In a televised speech to his country Monday night,  Anastasiades said, "Our choices were not easy."

He said that at banks on the Mediterranean island, capital restrictions will be imposed to prevent depositors from making massive cash withdrawals. But he said the restrictions would be "very temporary."

Most of those banks were due to reopen Tuesday, but now all will remain closed until Thursday. Banks in Cyprus have been closed for more than a week during the crisis and the size of withdrawals by customers at automated teller machines has been limited.

In securing the rescue package, Cyprus avoided bankruptcy and an exit from the euro currency union. But the impact of the deal is drawing widely different interpretations.

Wealthy Russian investors have parked vast sums in Cypriot banks. But Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday that Cyprus, by agreeing to impose a tax of about 30 percent on big, uninsured accounts with more than $130,000, is "continuing, I think, to plunder the loot" of his countrymen.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe's chief advocate for forcing debt-ridden countries to resolve their financial woes, described the Cyprus rescue plan as fair.

"I am very pleased that a solution was found last night and that we have been able to avoid an insolvency," said Merkel. "I believe that a fair burden distribution was achieved. On the one hand, banks have to take responsibility for themselves which is what we have always said. We do not want taxpayers to save banks. Banks must save themselves. This is what will happen in the case of Cyprus.''
 
The bailout terms were reached in last-minute negotiations in Brussels, just ahead of a deadline set by the European Central Bank. The central bank has said it would cut off emergency funding to Cypriot banks if no deal was reached. With the bailout secure, the bank said it would continue the emergency assistance.

Cypriot officials warned of tough times ahead for the country, whose economy accounts for just two-tenths of one percent of the eurozone's economic fortunes. Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris predicted the Cypriot economy would recover. But he said the nation will be paying for the past mistakes of its bankers and the government, who together turned the island into a tax haven for offshore investors, with limited regulation.

"I don't think there is any denying that the Cyprus people will have to go through some tough times and will suffer the consequences of a protracted period where wrong decisions were made, primarily at the banking level, but also the fiscal excesses that we had to adjust over a relatively short period of time," said Sarris.

Greek Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II said there "will be a lot of difficulties, some will lose their jobs, the poverty will increase."

To secure the $13 billion bailout from their European neighbors, the central bank and International Monetary Fund, Cyprus had to raise $7.5 billion. As part of the deal, it agreed to close the island's second largest bank, Laiki, and enforce heavy losses on wealthy bank depositors. The island last week rejected an earlier plan sanctioned by the lenders that also would have taxed the insured accounts of small investors.

If no deal had been reached, Cyprus would have defaulted, and likely been forced to leave the eurozone.

Cyprus becomes the fifth eurozone country where billions of dollars in bailouts have been needed to ward off bankruptcy, following Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid