Cyprus has asked Russia for a five billion euro loan, according to a report quoting the Russian finance minister.
It comes as the Cypriot president met the head of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso in Nicosia, days after the island took over the EU’s rotating presidency.
Demetris Christofias, a communist, has annoyed diplomats by saying Russia is more supportive than the EU with economic aid and does not impose conditions.
The Commission president focused on the need for change in Cyprus – and the eurozone.
“(The) status quo is not an option, and together we’ll make sure that we deliver reform. The centrepiece of the presidency will be to make progress on the Commission’s proposal for a banking union, when we speak about the eurozone. Proper supervision of European banks, protection for citizens’ bank deposits, a framework for dealing with banks in trouble have a direct impact on our citizens,” said José Manuel Barroso.
Cyprus, in severe economic trouble, has criticised the eurozone’s decision to restructure Greece’s private sector debt. The move hit Cypriot banks which have a large exposure to Greece.
Cyprus has strong economic ties with Russia and agreed another loan from Moscow late last year.
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