Disaster avoided for the many maybe, pain for the few for sure, and a palpable sense of relief on the podium as Cyprus’s Finance Minister promised the banks would reopen soon after the last-ditch deal on the EU bailout was clinched.
Laiki bank will go under along with thousands of jobs, but the alternative was truly horrendous for Cyprus.
“Essentially it’s not that we won a battle, but we really have avoided a disastrous exit from the eurozone,” explained Michael Sarris.
Europe’s sacrosanct 100,000 euro deposit guarantee has been maintained, but Cyprus is not yet off the hook.
“I don’t think that there is any denying that the Cypriot people will have to go through some tough times and will suffer the consequences of a protracted period where wrong decisions were made,” added Sarris.
Some people were out on the streets to protest following the announcement, but although small investors have been protected, a coach and horses has been driven through the rules for big investors.
The EU may have said all along Cyprus was an exceptional case, but where will the big money go now? Equally, citizens in EU member states groaning under austerity might wonder when their governments will do more to protect them.