Cyprus conceded on Thursday that tight capital controls would remain in force longer than expected as the island’s banks reopened for the first time after the government was forced to accept a tough EU rescue package to avoid bankruptcy.
Cypriots queued calmly to withdraw limited amounts of cash, but there was no sign of a run on deposits, as had been feared.
Banks were shut for nearly two weeks while the government negotiated a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) international
bailout, the first in Europe’s single currency zone to impose losses on bank depositors.
Curbs on money movements imposed after the bailout would be phased out over about a month, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said.
“A number of restrictions will be lifted and gradually, probably over a period of about a month according to the
estimates of the central bank, the restrictions will be fully lifted,» he told reporters.
The government initially said the controls would remain in place for a week, subject to review. Economists say they will
prove hard to lift as long as the economy is in crisis.