The government of Cyprus said ministers must agree a “Plan B” for funding the island’s bailout on Thursday morning.
The controversial levy on the deposits in customers’ bank accounts, which was a condition for 10-billion euros of EU/IMF bailout funds, was rejected by parliament on Tuesday.
Averos Neofitou, Deputy Leader of the ruling Democratic Rally party said time is running out:
“This government will take its historical responsibilities and we will save the country. We don’t have either days or weeks, we have a few hours.”
While the politicians debate the people on the island are unable to access their own money; the banks will be closed for another week to prevent mass withdrawals, bringing life to a standstill for many.
Shop-owner, Stelios Stylianou, said this is causing huge difficulties: “We have a problem. When the banks are closed it’s like we are the living dead. We can’t make any withdrawals, we can’t make deposits or pay our suppliers. They must open because it’s causing a huge problem.”
Meanwhile the Cypriot Finance Minister, Michael Sarris, was in Moscow trying to negotiate help from Russia, which holds multi-billion euro investments on the Mediterranean island.
One official from Cyprus said the new plan will involve “some form” of assistance from Russia, but did not elaborate.
Some have speculated however that the cost of Russian aid could be interests in future development of offshore energy fields.