Cyprus pressured by EU Troika
The Parliament of Cyprus should be congratulated for reflecting the will of the people and rejecting the demands for cuts and austerity measures from EU-led financiers.
By Patrick Harrington
A matter of weeks after replacing communist president Demetris Christofias, right-wing Nicos Anastasiades has been preparing to surrender to the troika of the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and the European Union in return for a bailout. Cyprus is said to need around £12 billion to stabilise the hole in its finances left by the austerity-driven collapse of Greece's economy and the irresponsibility of its and Cypriot bankers.
The island has been told that, in order to access £8bn in finances for their country, ordinary people have to be squeezed financially to make up the rest. The headlines have concentrated on the widely reviled universal tax on savings. The original plan was to impose what some have described as a "deposit tax" of at least 6.75 percent on all savings in Cypriot accounts, no matter how small.
This was met with mass protest from Cypriot bank account holders and the country's parliament rejected this earlier in the week. Signs are, however, that the government will give in to the mounting financial pressure from the EU troika.
On Friday, the parliament passed a number of measures aimed at meeting the troika's demands, but did not agree on a bank account levy. This appears to be the issue that Cypriot politicians and troika representatives spent much of Saturday talking about, but little in the way of detail has emerged. The Reuters news agency quoted an unnamed senior Cypriot official who said they had agreed to a 20 percent levy on deposits of over 100,000 euros at the country's biggest lender, Bank of Cyprus, and a four-percent tax on similar accounts at other banks.
Whilst not as severe, this would still represent a huge blow to savers and lead to public concerns about just how safe their savings are.
Behind the scenes, however, the goal is the sell-off and privatisation of the country's commonly owned resources and unexploited gas fields. That means that the Cypriot people not only have to pay now for the failings of a few reckless bankers at home and abroad, they will be paying for many years to come as their mineral wealth will be used for private profi not the commonwealth of the community.
Nick Griffin, MEP, commented: "Whatever happens by the deadline on Monday it is the ordinary people in Cyprus who will be forced to pay the price for the mistakes of the financiers and bankers. People who have worked hard an put away money (already taxed if taken as income) will be forced to pay. It shows how this whole corrupt system operates - it is a form of legalised theft."