Cyprus gets its first 2 billion euros of bailout aid

Cyprus got its first emergency-aid payment as euro-area finance ministers set to work avoiding a bailout in Slovenia.

Cyprus received 2 billion euros on Monday and will get as much as 1 billion euros more in June as the Mediterranean island’s 10 billion-euro aid package was activated, the European Stability Mechanism said in a statement.

The release came as finance ministers from the 17 euro countries wrangled over banking policy and economic remedies to the fallout from the financial crisis that emerged in Greece in 2009.

“We’ve shown over the past three years that the general direction to overcome the confidence in the euro is right,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told reporters. “We still have slower growth in Europe, and we have to see to it that we reduce unemployment even with limited growth rates.”

Europe’s governments are in the midst of a policy rethink after three years of budget cutting as they face up to a deepening recession in the euro area and a record unemployment rate that exceeds 12 percent. Still in doubt for economists is what kind of stimulus will actually be delivered and what effect it could have in the crisis-torn currency bloc.