Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris has dismissed once again the possibility of a haircut on bank deposits in Cyprus, stressing that the issue is not on the table of negotiations with the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund).
In statements to journalists after the conclusion of a broad meeting on the economy that took place under President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades, Sarris said that haircut on bank deposits “is not an issue we are willing t o discuss”.
The meeting in the Presidential Palace took place some hours before the arrival in Cyprus of a Troika team which begins this morning contacts with the Cypriot authorities, ahead of a deal on a Cyprus bailout, expected to be agreed this month.
Sarris told journalists that during the meeting they discussed about the strategy of Cyprus to be followed at the negotiations with the Troika, noting that the aim is to conclude an agreement on a Cyprus loan by the end of March.
The Cypriot authorities, he said, have prepared detailed counter proposals to present at the negotiations with the Troika.
The Minister also referred to Monday’s Eurogroup meeting in Brussels, saying that there was a positive atmosphere for the fact that “there is a new government in Cyprus, which is reliable and ready to make the decisions needed”.
On the other hand, he said, there are different approaches as regards the management of the Cyprus debt, adding that these are issues which Cyprus can address through counterproposals.
The Eurogroup, which held a meeting in Brussels Monday, noted that with the new government now in place in Cyprus, it is confident that a swift conclusion of the negotiations towards a Memorandum of Understanding for a Cyprus bailout can be reached.
The Eurogroup welcomed the commitment of President Anastasiades, reiterated by Minister Sarris, to closely cooperate with Cyprus’s European partners towards the earliest possible completion of the loan agreement.
It also reiterated its readiness to assist Cyprus in its adjustment effort, including of its banking sector, in order to bring the economy to a sustainable growth path with sound public finances and to safeguard financial stability.
The Eurogroup called on the international institutions and Cyprus to accelerate their work on the building blocks of a programme, and agreed to target political endorsement of the programme around the second half of March.
Excluded from international capital markets, Cyprus has requested financial assistance from the EU bailout mechanism after its two largest banks sought state aid following massive losses of their Greek bond holdings estimated at €4.5 billion, as a result of the Greek sovereign debt haircut.
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