Few winners in Cyprus deal

Protester casts a shadow onto a Cypriot flag in Nicosia on 24/3/13 Uncertainty lies ahead in Cyprus as the implications of the deal become clearer

After 12 hours of negotiations, a deal was done in Brussels which protects Cyprus from bankruptcy.

It will stay in the eurozone and will receive a 10bn euro bailout.

Its rescue comes with a heavy price.

The battle to protect its business model as an offshore financial sector has been lost.

The German government in particular had opposed a model which attracted foreign investors with high interest rates and low regulation.

Afterwards, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said: "It was the result the German government always stood for."

In order to qualify for a rescue, Cyprus had to raise 5.8bn euros. It has done that by closing the Laiki (Popular) Bank. Further funds will be raised from tax increases and privatisations.

With the closing of Laiki Bank, thousands of bank workers will be without a job.

Bondholders and those with deposits of more than 100,000 euros ($130,000; £85,000) face significant losses; perhaps 40% or more. Their accounts will be frozen immediately and used to pay off the bank's debts.

Large depositors at the Bank of Cyprus - the island's largest bank - will face very severe losses. The details have yet to be worked out. This is where most of the Russian funds are.

All bank accounts with under 100,000 euros in them have been protected from any levy or one-off tax.

Tarnished reputation

As with other eurozone bailouts, the rescue is likely to deepen the recession and increase job losses. It combines austerity with the severe pruning of one of the country's key industries.

Start Quote

To all those who say we are strangling an entire people... Cyprus is a casino economy that was on the brink of bankruptcy”

End Quote Pierre Moscovici French finance minister

The EU's Economics Commissioner, Olli Rehn, said "the near future will be very difficult for the country and its people".

Days of uncertainty lie ahead.

It is not clear whether the banks will reopen on Tuesday. Neither is it known when restrictions on cash withdrawals will be lifted or what capital controls will be left in place.

There will be big, and innocent, losers.

What happens to the person who parked more than 100,000 euros in an account before buying a property or before paying foreign suppliers?

There will be much confusion, much argument, as the detail emerges and is argued over. The rescue, certainly in the short-term, will hit the Cypriot economy hard.

Cyprus has been saved but at what price?

Certainly in the country itself it is widely believed they have been treated unfairly.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said: "To all those who say we are strangling an entire people... Cyprus is a casino economy that was on the brink of bankruptcy."

The deal has left the eurozone's reputation tarnished.

It was prepared initially to tax small depositors, despite guarantees of protection; there is the perceived bullying of the European Central Bank and Germany; there are renewed doubts that such disparate countries can be held together in a monetary and economic union.

In Cyprus itself, it is very easy to find people who want to leave the eurozone when the time is right.

But for the EU, the risk of a country leaving the eurozone has gone away and with it the risk of contagion.

For Brussels that is a prize enough.

Gavin Hewitt Article written by Gavin Hewitt Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

Cameron, migration and the Germans

In an anticipated speech on migration, British Prime Minister David Cameron set out proposals aimed at keeping both his countrymen and the continent happy.

Read full article

More on This Story


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    You know guts, all this high flying finance stuff will be totally lost on 80% of the work force working in the erstwhile banking sector have now lost their jobs. (half the work force has been employed up till now - think about it. Remember, when you've got nothing, you've got nothing to lose!!!!!!!!
    So they might just throw in the towel anyway, back to the Cyp£
    Watch this space

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    @ 260. Little_Old_Me
    The growth "has been squashed and (therefore) the unemployment has been sky rocketed" because it had been driven by unsustainable, credit-financed bubbles. No such country gets any credit any longer to bearable interest rates without a guarantor and no one will be accepted with this attitude by it's partners in the long run nor be successfull in a globalized world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    253. nedw
    "All the money invested by the Russians is black money anyway. All EU did is grab the ill gotten gains" (so well informed!)

    if so It all Belonged entirely to the EZ ?? double theft
    (funny when a thief steals from another ha ha)

    "Now Cypriots need to find is a decent way of making a living like hard work".
    EZ must send them with picks and shovels down the coal mine!

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    271. quietoaktree

    50 years knowledge of Cyprus is required for any proper evaluation.

    Or just a realization the Euro coinage would cause distorted consequences,that wise council warned, but were ignored as little englanders

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    It is OK with me that BBC (internet) journalists publish their own views on topics --but not when they cannot be challenged.


    There are many interpretations --based on more factual evidence that Mr Mason and Mr Hewitt present which are ignored --either deliberately or unknowingly.

    50 years knowledge of Cyprus is required for any proper evaluation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    267.David Horton

    "..It is very boring explaining the bleeding obvious repeatedly..."


    But that's not what you're doing. You're repeatedly trying to shove falsehood down people's throats.

    Cyprus was always perfectly free not to accept the bailout terms and suffer disorderley bank collapse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Banks frozen, public in fear
    Who now safe?

    To help / bid 'leaders'
    Defend slavery, sham democracy

    In wealth, concentrated, widely squirrelled
    Land, property, business, investment, cash, gold
    Almost beyond touch, beyond borders

    But needing partners, hire & trade
    States respectful & protective of
    Proceeds & means of corruption

    Against democracy
    Their fall by own creation, the mob

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    Lots of tedious people criticising the EU for being undemocratic, again - the is not a decision that have been made by an entity called the "EU"
    No, it was shoved through by their bank, the ECB.

    If people can't see that they are the same, then they are naive beyond comprehension.

    Tedium is two way. It is very boring explaining the bleeding obvious repeatedly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    I agree. The logic is inescapable.

    This bailout has predicated a tax to be levied on the savings of ordinary Cypriots who had the nerve, the sheer gall, to follow advice & save a few bob.

    The recipient of the tax is the Cypriot govt. But the beneficiary?

    The EU.

    Rather than steal savings, the EU should recognise that the concept of the euro is fatally flawed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    If it were just Russian gangster money, although why its OK to steal from them is just as immoral as what they do, it wouldn't be so bad.
    Thousands of innocent UK and Cypriot citizens and businesses are caught up in this.
    It has shattered the trust, that money saved across all EU banks is safe.
    Mr Farage points that any businessman leaving money in a Southern EU bank is criminally negligent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.


    Please explain why you think Russian gangsters' ill gotten gains should be saved at the expense of ordinary people in Cyprus...???

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    They would not have lost every Euro, the bank deposit scheme protects deposits under €1000,000. This is why the truth is being twisted to call it a tax.
    This is about teaching small EZ countries to fall into line, Cyprus is being made an example of, Malta, Luxembourg with much bigger financial centres have had a shot across their bows.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    261.Dailymailreader - "Taking money out of ordinary savers accounts is theft, you can call it, help save the dying Euro ....."

    No, it is to help save the ENTIRE Cypriot economy collapsing. Whatever the rights & wrongs of how they came to be in this situation, without the bail out the banks would be bust by now & the savers would have lost EVERY SINGLE Euro in their accounts.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Taking money out of ordinary savers accounts is theft, you can call it, help save the dying Euro "tax" if you like. I call it theft, no different than if you mugged them on the street.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    257.Dietrich - "......Beside this austerity is done already for good reasons...."

    Would you care to explain what you think those "good reasons" are?

    Bear in mind the context is that growth has been squashed, unemployment has sky rocketed & debts are becoming more unsustainable than before...???

  • Comment number 259.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    Before Pierre Moscovici becomes too self-righteous he should remember the economic catastrophe which swept France in 1720 when the "Mississippi Bubble" burst.

    This scheme involved the French government underwriting a speculative company trading in Louisiana which went bust and it nearly destroyed the French economy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    @ 254. Little_Old_Me

    Austerity was not Germany's shout as biggest economy, but as biggest guarantor for fresh credits, which in some cases very likely never will be paid back.

    Beside this austerity is done already for good reasons at the same time in Britain by Mr. Cameron. Voluntarily by the way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    MH, This is completely different to QE bringing down interest rates.
    In the UK you can choose to put your money in a different account if you don't like the interest rate. Nationwide do a 5% online account, well above inflation.
    In Cyprus the money is frozen, ready to be stolen. Money also owned by local business, pensioners, house buyers, not just rich Russians, I don't believe it's ok to steal


Page 1 of 14



  • Witley Court in Worcestershire Abandoned mansions

    What happened to England's lost stately homes?

  • Tray of beer being carried10 Things

    Beer is less likely to slosh than coffee, and other nuggets

  • Spoon and buckwheatSoul food

    The grain that tells you a lot about Russia's state of mind

  • Woman readingWeekendish

    The best reads you need to catch up on

  • Salim Rashid SuriThe Singing Sailor

    The young Omani who became a prewar fusion music hit

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.