Eurogroup chief warns over Cyprus crisis

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The president of the Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, has warned that the problems in Cyprus pose a "systemic risk" to the whole eurozone.

In his first evidence session with MEPs on 21 March 2013, he said he hoped Cyprus could find a solution that was "financially and economically sound", to help it out of its crisis.

Politicians in Cyprus have been trying to secure a new agreement after an unpopular levy on bank deposits was rejected by parliament earlier in the week, amid warnings from the European Central Bank that it may halt emergency funding on Monday.

The tax on bank deposits, which provoked street protests, is required for a €10bn loan.

Mr Dijsselboem said he could not see many alternatives to the package presented by the EU, but said he was "open to a more fair approach to the way the levy is structured".

German centre-right MEP Markus Ferber accused Mr Dijsselbloem of "organising a massive loss of confidence in Europe", a claim rejected by the Eurogroup chief.

Mr Dijsselbloem insisted the crisis was very specific to Cyprus, and there was no chance of similar packages being imposed on other struggling eurozone countries.

The Eurogroup is the main forum for the management of the single currency area. It is an informal body that brings together the finance ministers of countries whose currency is the euro.

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