News / Europe

Cyprus Controls Expected to Target Foreign Transactions

Cyprus Crisis Agreement Could Lead to Credit Crunch, High Unemployment
Cyprus Crisis Agreement Could Lead to Credit Crunch, High Unemployment
Reuters
Cyprus is expected to stop people taking their money out of the country but will not restrict dealings at home as it tries to avert a run on its banks after agreeing a tough rescue package with international lenders.
    
Cypriots have taken to the streets of Nicosia in thousands to protest against a bailout deal that will push their country into an economic slump and cost many their jobs.
    
European leaders said the deal averted a chaotic national bankruptcy that might have forced Cyprus out of the euro.
    
Cyprus' Finance Minister Michalis Sarris holds a news conference at the end of a Eurogroup meeting at the European Council building in Brussels, March 25, 2013.Cyprus' Finance Minister Michalis Sarris holds a news conference at the end of a Eurogroup meeting at the European Council building in Brussels, March 25, 2013.
x
Cyprus' Finance Minister Michalis Sarris holds a news conference at the end of a Eurogroup meeting at the European Council building in Brussels, March 25, 2013.
Cyprus' Finance Minister Michalis Sarris holds a news conference at the end of a Eurogroup meeting at the European Council building in Brussels, March 25, 2013.
With banks due to reopen on Thursday after nearly two weeks, Finance Minister Michael Sarris said capital controls will be "within the realms of reason'' and a business leader said he had been told they would affect only international transactions.
    
"We will look at the best way to limit the possibility of large sums of money leaving, and not imposing punitive conditions on the economy, businesses and individuals,'' Sarris told local television.
    
Speaking after meeting government officials, the head of the Cyprus chamber of commerce said: "We have been assured that limitations will not affect transactions within Cyprus at all.''

"Where there will be limitations is on what we spend abroad and also on capital outflows,'' Phidias Pelides told reporters.
    
The central bank governor said earlier that "loose'' controls would apply temporarily to all banks. Earlier, the finance minister said they could be in place for weeks. Banks have been shut since final bailout talks got under way in mid-March.
    
Russia, whose citizens have billions of euros in Cyprus and use Cypriot banks to move money around even among Russian firms, cautioned Nicosia against imposing onerous controls on healthy banks and noted that Moscow was reviewing loan terms to Cyprus.

"If there are such measures, this will not foster trust but only provoke additional problems for participants, depositors,'' Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Tuesday.
    
He cautioned that Russian willingness to restructure and extend a 2.5-billion euro loan made to Cyprus in 2011 would depend on the island's decision on capital controls.

"We will discuss [restructuring of the loan] in the context of the decisions the parliament adopts,'' he said. "We are prepared to discuss within these parameters.''
    
State-controlled Russian bank VTB has a subsidiary in Cyprus, Russian Commercial Bank, which has not been directly affected by a bailout deal which focuses on big local banks that lost badly in the restructuring of debts in neighboring Greece.
    
Popular anger

The terms of the 10-billion euro ($13-billion) rescue from the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank have stirred popular anger within Cyprus at the country's partners in the EU, notably Germany, the bloc's main paymaster and fiercest advocate of austerity.
    
On Tuesday, many hundreds of high school students protested at parliament, in the first major expression of popular anger since the bailout was agreed in the early hours of Monday in Brussels. The deal largely side-stepped the Cypriot parliament, and has triggered opposition calls for a referendum.

"They've just got rid of all our dreams,'' said one student, named Thomas.
    
Outside the central bank on Tuesday, about 200 employees of the country's biggest commercial lender, the Bank of Cyprus , demanded the resignation of central bank governor Panicos Demetriades, chanting "Hands off Cyprus'' and "Disgrace''.
    
Dimos Dimosthenous, a veteran Bank of Cyprus employee, said: "The bank is being driven to closure. That will be the end.''
    
A Bank of Cyprus official said its chief executive, Yiannis Kypri, had been removed on the orders of the central bank.
    
It follows the appointment of a special administrator to run the bank, which is being restructured as part of the bailout deal, and an offer to resign by its chairman, Andreas Artemis.
    
Accounts frozen

The second largest lender, Cyprus Popular Bank, also known as Laiki, is to be shut down, and accounts of under 100,000 euros and some loans will be moved to the Bank of Cyprus. Deposits at both banks over the 100,000-euro mark, which is an EU benchmark for state insurance, will be frozen.
    
Government officials have estimated that these larger depositors, many of them wealthy foreigners including Russians, could lose around 40 percent of their cash.
    
On Wednesday, the government was appointing special crisis teams of economic experts to advise ministers.
    
Many Cypriots say they do not feel reassured by the bailout deal, however, and are expected to besiege banks as soon as they reopen after a shutdown that began over a week ago.

The long closure of the banks has hurt business, according to Andreas Hadjiadamou, president of the Cyprus Supermarkets Association, who said consumer confidence had "hit the floor''.
    
Maria Benaki, who runs a family silverware business on Nicosia's biggest shopping street, said she had not had a customer in days.

"The situation is dire,'' she said. "What will happen at the end of the month when I need to pay my bills?''

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid