Cyprus in hot seat
Wednesday 09 January 2013
The eurozone started the year with the complex dossier of Cyprus aid, but a decision by the end of January – as planned – seems impossible as the country’s needs remain too unclear and the political calendar is unfavourable, according to several European policy makers. The Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Olli Rehn, and the President of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, said at the end of the year 2012 that they were in favour of a decision at the meeting of finance ministers of the eurozone, on 21 January. This meeting will not be conclusive on aid to Cyprus, a European diplomat who preferred to remain anonymous, warned – in his mind, several meetings will be needed. The decision will probably not be taken in February either, one of his colleagues told
AFP, and a third diplomat said that it was possible that the dossier would take several months to be solved.
“There cannot be special conditions for Cyprus,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, recalling that there are “general rules in Europe and we are far from having finished the discussions”. The country is negotiating with the troika (Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund) a bailout plan called for in June. Cyprus needs some 17 billion euro over four years, of which ten billion euro would go to recapitalise its banks.