Nicosia calls for changes to its bailout terms

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said creditors must urgently provide a long-term solution to restore Cyprus’s biggest bank to health so that capital controls can be lifted and “devastating” effects to the economy averted.

In a letter to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso dated June 6, Anastasiades said that a financial rescue package from the euro area and the International Monetary Fund imposed losses on bank depositors “without careful preparation,” creating “pressing issues that need to be addressed.”

A significant number of Cypriot firms have lost their working capital, he said in the letter posted on website and confirmed by the president’s office.

Cyprus agreed on March 25 to a 10-billion-euro bailout in return for measures including a tax on bank deposits of more than 100,000 euros.

Those concessions were demanded by creditors in a bid to shrink the country’s banking sector, and led to Cyprus imposing capital controls as it resolved its second-biggest lender, Cyprus Popular Bank Pcl.

“Artificial measures such as capital restrictions may seem to prevent a bank run in the short term but will only aggravate the depositors the longer they persist,” Anastasiades said.

“Rather than creating confidence in the banking system they are eroding it by the day. Maintaining capital restrictions for a long period will inevitably have devastating effects on the local economy.”