News Column

Cyprus Bailout Talks 'Frustrating,' Hard on Citizens

Dec. 14, 2012

Cypriot negotiations with its future international creditors had been "difficult" and would force hardship on citizens, the country's president said Friday in Brussels.

"It was a difficult negotiation ... which touches upon a lot of social achievements of the Cypriot workers, and the Cypriot people in general," said President Dimitris Christofias, who leads the EU's only communist government.

"I'm damn frustrated and disappointed," he had told journalists Thursday on arrival at a two-day summit of EU leaders.

A decision on the 17.5-billion-euro (22.5-billion-dollar) bailout by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund was expected mid-January, the president confirmed, making it the fifth eurozone country to receive bailout funds.

The Cypriot government bore "no responsibility" for the crisis, Christofias insisted.

"The responsibility rests squarely with the banks, the financial system and a supervisory authority that gave no warning or indication of danger," he added.

The bailout request was not due to excessive public debt or a budgetary deficit, the president said.

Rather, it was triggered in part by an EU decision to carry out a haircut of Greek debt, reducing its value to investors such as Cypriot banks, he added.

"This haircut cost us 4.5 billion euros (5.9 billion dollars)," Christofias said, adding that further decisions by the Cypriot and Greek supervisory authorities cost them the same amount again.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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