News / Europe

Cyprus Bailout Moves Forward; EU Eyes Bank Stabilization

Cyprus' Finance Minister Harris Georgiades (C) and Central Bank of Cyprus Governor Panicos Demetriades (R) sit with Holland's Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem in a portrait session at Dublin Castle during an informal meeting, Apr. 12, 2013.
Cyprus' Finance Minister Harris Georgiades (C) and Central Bank of Cyprus Governor Panicos Demetriades (R) sit with Holland's Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem in a portrait session at Dublin Castle during an informal meeting, Apr. 12, 2013.
VOA News
European Union finance ministers are pushing ahead with plans to bail out Cyprus and stabilize Europe's banking sector.

Ministers meeting in Dublin, Ireland Friday faced questions following reports that the cost of the Cyprus bailout had jumped by several billion dollars.  But EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said such worries were not justified.

"People have been comparing apples and pears and coming up with oranges. I will refrain from remarking that this is what happens when stories are written based on leaked documents,'' Rehn said.

The $13 billion bailout plan calls for Cyprus to contribute about $9 billion.  But the costs may still grow.  Rehn confirmed Friday the economic fortunes of the offshore tax haven are worse than first thought.

"We are revising the growth forecast and of course there is plenty of uncertainty about the exact trajectory of economic growth in Cyprus,'' he explained.

Before the meeting, Cypriot Finance Minister Harris Georgiades was resolute. "We have a deal and we shall make it work,'' Georgiades asserted.

The bailout deal Cyprus patched together with international lenders must still be approved by the parliaments of several EU countries before aid can start flowing, as early as next month.

Also Friday, the ministers agreed on the creation of a single supervisory mechanism to watch over European banks.  

Rehn said the move will "further enforce financial stability."

To help ease the financial crunch, Cypriot officials say they are looking at other types of aid, some from the EU.  But to raise additional money, the island could be forced to sell about three-fourths of its gold reserves for about $524 million, levy additional taxes and sell state assets.  

The terms of the bailout have already required Cyprus to confiscate 60 percent of the deposits of its biggest account holders, many of them wealthy Russians.

Such terms continue to upset many Cypriots, like shop owner Ritsa Constantinou, despite her growing optimism that the country's fortunes are improving.

"They shouldn't be so strict. They're choking us," she said. "On the one hand they give us a loan, but they say you have to repay it tomorrow. This isn't possible. If I weigh 100 kilos and the doctor tells me you have to lose weight tomorrow, will I be able to lose it in one day?''    

Such anger may continue to simmer.  Eurogroup finance ministers agreed In Dublin to give Ireland and Portugal  another seven years to repay emergency bailout loans.

Eurogroup President and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem says "Ireland is a living example that adjustment programs do work, provided there is a strong ownership and genuine commitment to reforms."

But Nicosia shop owner Luis Komitis sees nothing wrong with continuing to help Cyprus be accountable.

"I don't believe our partners in Europe want what's bad for us.  I am one of those who believe that Germany, as well as Holland, who we wrongly accuse every day, want what's best for us," Komitis said. "They want to sort out the mistakes that happened in the past, repeatedly, and for many years and by all governments. Germany, and the other countries we accuse wrongly every day, are the ones who want to help us."

Cyprus is the fifth of the 17 nations in the eurozone to need a bailout. But it is the first time that other European countries, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund forced large bank depositors to pay part of the cost.

You May Like

Somalia: No Popular Elections in 2016

In interview Wednesday with VOA, President Mohamud says 'one person, one vote' elections will not be possible due to continuing insecurity More

Scientists Predict Climate Change Will Increase Child Malnutrition

Public health expert in Germany says that by 2050, 25 million more children's lives will be put at risk because of lack of nutrients tied to climate change More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs