Nicosia to lift capital controls in a few months

Cyprus is likely to completely lift controls on capital movement within months, Finance Minister Haris Georgiades told Reuters on Friday, ending a controversial chapter in the eurozone’s short history.

To prevent a collapse of its financial system, Cyprus introduced emergency controls on the movement of capital, such as money transfers or cash withdrawals, in March.

It has been gradually relaxing those controls ever since.

“Already the restrictions which are in place now are much looser than they were in March,” Georgiades said on the sidelines of a meeting of European Union finance ministers.

“The intention is to maintain pace and momentum, not in abstract terms, but in very specific terms that will relate to their relaxation and eventually their full lifting. It is a progression of months not years.”

While controls on the movement of capital within Cyprus are already set to be removed early next year, Georgiades’s comments signal that rules restricting the movement of money outside of the country will also soon be lifted.

The full removal of capital controls, the first of their kind since the launch of the euro, could mark a further milestone in overcoming a financial and debt crisis that has dogged Europe for more than half a decade.

Financial transactions in Cyprus are now vetted, and there are daily cash withdrawal limits at banks.


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