News / Europe

Cyprus Reconsiders Bank Deposit Tax to Solve Debt Crisis

A protester cries during an anti-bailout rally by employees of Cyprus Popular Bank, outside parliament, Nicosia, March 22, 2013.
A protester cries during an anti-bailout rally by employees of Cyprus Popular Bank, outside parliament, Nicosia, March 22, 2013.
VOA News
Cyprus is reconsidering whether to tax depositors' accounts at its troubled banks as the island nation desperately seeks a way to secure a bailout from its European neighbors.

Earlier in the week, the Cypriot parliament overwhelmingly rejected confiscating money from savers. But the deposit tax emerged again Friday as the Cypriot leaders neared a deadline imposed by the country's international lenders to raise $7.5 billion by Monday or face a cutoff in emergency funding for its banks.

The lenders have demanded that Cyprus raise the money as a condition for handing a $13-billion rescue package to the island.  Much of the money would refund the country's banks weighed down by bad investments in Greek government bonds.

If no solution is found, Cyprus could default on its loans, and possibly become the first country to leave the 17-nation euro currency bloc.

As parliament started consideration Friday night of several measures to raise the money it needs, the government said it envisions a 15-percent tax on accounts with more than $129,000, the threshold at which funds are not insured, while the defeated tax proposal covered insured savings as well.  A tax on the biggest deposits would impact numerous Russian oligarchs who have placed vast sums in the tax haven's banks.

Cyprus revived the deposit tax after it unsuccessfully sought more aid from Russia.  Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia would only consider assisting Cyprus if the island first reaches an agreement with its European neighbors on a rescue package.

Cyprus said its future stands in the balance.  Government spokesman Christos Stylianides told the 56-member parliament that the Mediterranean country must be saved.

"The next hours will determine the future of the country.  We must all take responsibility," said Stylianides.

Cyprus is considering restructuring at least one of its key banks, Laiki.  The Bank of Cyprus and Laiki both urged parliament to impose a tax on the deposits of more than $129,000 as a way to resolve the crisis.
 
The island's banks are closed until Tuesday to prevent panicked investors from withdrawing large sums of money.  Anxious depositors, however, are able to withdraw limited amounts from automated teller machines.  

"We have not closed the door," said Medvedev. "We have not said that we would not discuss anything anymore and that we would not want even to hear anything because Cyprus is a European Union member state and it is not our business.  Of course, we have understandable economic interests there.  And we will and we are ready to discuss different options of supporting this country, bearing in mind that we have already given our support, we gave them a loan some time ago,  but only after a final scheme is worked out involving European Union countries and Cyprus itself.''

You May Like

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs