News / Europe

Cyprus, Lenders Reach Bailout Deal

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.
Lisa Bryant
Stock markets rallied and politicians praised a European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout agreement for Cyprus reached early Monday after marathon talks in Brussels. But analysts predict difficulties ahead for the country as it tries to get onto a more sustainable economic footing.

The $13 billion bailout agreement for Cyprus ends days of financial upheaval and speculation that the tiny island nation might pull out of the 17-member euro currency union.

Speaking to reporters after the talks ended in Brussels, Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris hailed the deal.

"A long period of uncertainty and insecurity surrounding the Cyprus economy has ended. I believe we have averted literally the possibility of bankruptcy and we have assured the prospects for generations to come," Sarris said.

Watch related video of Cyprus bailout:

Related video of Cyprus bailouti
X
March 25, 2013 3:56 PM
European Union officials say Cyprus has reached a bailout deal with international lenders that will see the country's second biggest bank shut down.

Also attending the meeting was International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who said the talks had yielded a "good result." Lagarde said she would recommend the IMF contribute to the bailout package.

"We believe this will form a lasting, durable and fully financed solution," she said.

The deal radically cuts Cyprus's oversized banking sector, and forces losses on depositors holding more than 100,000 euros (about $130,000) in savings. It also calls on the government to cut spending and carry out economic reforms, including privatizing state assets.

In the short term, economist Tomasz Michalski, of the HEC business school in Paris, predicts Cyprus will likely sink further into recession as it struggles to meet the bailout terms and turn around its economy.

"A lot of people are going to become unemployed. Probably, they're going to have to raise taxes, because there was a very low tax environment," he predicted. "They're going to have to cut government spending a lot, retirement pensions."

Michalski says big foreign depositors in Cypriot banks, including Russians and Britons, will also take a big hit.

"There's a shockwave [going] through all this world of nice, offshore, tax-free havens. If something is going to happen through a tax-free haven, that's the risk you place to hold your money," he warned. "From the perspective of all the high-tax governments in the eurozone, like France, Belgium and Germany, where we know there is a lot of tax avoidance and tax evasion, this is very good news."

The bailout deal ensures that the European Central Bank will continue providing funding to Cypriot banks. But Brussels-based European Policy Center analyst Janis Emmanouilidis says it also means Cyprus must now find another growth strategy.

Countries that received Eurozone bailouts:


  • Spain, 2012: $129 billion
  • Portugal, 2011: $100 billion
  • Ireland, 2010: Ireland: $110 billion
  • Greece, 2010 & 2012: $316 billion
"What the Cypriots have and what their hopes are is that what they're losing in one sector - in the banking sector - they'll be able to cover in the energy sector," noted Emmanouilidis. " Because of the energy [oil] being found off the coast of Cyprus. But that will take a while. It will take a couple of years before these things can be exploited fully."

With the agreement, Cyprus now joins Greece, Ireland and Portugal, who have also received bailouts since the eurozone crisis began in 2009.
  • In late 2009, Greece's government admitted that public debt was far higher than official statistics showed. That led it to accept a bailout package of 110 billion euros in May 2010. When the economy kept weakening, a second bailout was confirmed in February 2012 for another 130 billion euros.
  • Ireland's banks suffered from their exposure to the U.S. mortgage market meltdown as well as to a collapse in the local housing sector. The government stepped in to guarantee creditors and deposits, but as it rescued its banks, the costs grew.
  • Soon Ireland's borrowing rates on bond markets rose so high it was unable to finance itself independently. It secured a 67.5 billion euro package in November 2010.
  • After Ireland's rescue, investors focused on Portugal, the next weakest country in the currency bloc. Their economy was weak and public finances shaky. The government's borrowing rates in bond markets kept rising on fears it finances would become unsustainable.
  • By April 2011, talks on a bailout for Portugal began. In May 2011, the country agreed to a package of 78 billion euros in rescue loans.
  • Spain's weak economy worried European investors because it is much larger than those of Greece, Ireland or Portugal. Giving it rescue loans would test the eurozone's financial capabilities. The Spanish government and eurozone officials agreed on a deal in July 2012 to get up to 100 billion euros in rescue loans directly for the banks.
  • For a few weeks it seemed the Spanish government would also need rescue loans, but its borrowing rates in bond markets fell after the European Central Bank vowed to do "whatever it takes" to save the euro.
  • The European Central Bank's move calmed markets in Europe for months, but Cyprus's financial problems grew. The country's banks had taken losses from Greece's debt writedown, and the government was overwhelmed by the cost of supporting its banks.
  • Cyprus first asked for a eurozone and IMF rescue package in June 2012. The talks continued for months and in March 2013, a new deal was finally crafted to raise the money they needed to qualify for the rescue loans.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ria Moore from: IL
March 28, 2013 10:39 AM
I'm glad the European Union is taking the money of those Tax dodgers. It seems the European Union is the only democratic institution that puts the welfare of the small person first.Unlike the UK government, a Parliament for the rich and powerful.

by: david lulasa from: tambua,gimarakwa,hamisi,v
March 25, 2013 6:47 AM
how comes every european nation wont agree with the conditions that will evcentually be put by euro bank ?even germany....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More