Tuesday

23rd Aug 2016

Cyprus could 'combine' Russian and EU loans

  • Christofias at a Cypriot EU presidency map exhibition in Brussels (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Cypriot President Demetris Christofias has said he is happy to wait and see whether Brussels or Moscow offers him the best deal for the Mediterranean island's troubled banks - and has not ruled out taking loans from both.

Exploring the reaches of pragmatism, the Russian-speaking, Russian-educated communist leader on Thursday (5 July) said: "We have asked Russia and the European Union. We applied to both at the same time."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He made his comments to foreign journalists even as representatives from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary were on the island examining Nicosia's books.

The island's banks are heavily exposed to Greece. And it became the fifth eurozone country to apply for a bailout after its credit was given 'junk' status.

Up to €10 billion is expected to be needed. But Cyprus wants its money with as few reform conditions as possible. It received a no-strings attached loan from Moscow last year and it is keen to have another one now.

"Maybe the terms are going to be harsher than the terms of Russia," said the President, building on remarks made in the European Parliament on Thursday that Moscow asks for "low interest rates. Period."

Other bailout countries, most notably Greece where the required changes have led to social unrest - have been expected to strongly cut back state spending and reform their labour markets.

Nicosia is particularly keen to ringfence its 10 percent corporate tax rate - one of the lowest in the EU - which it says is key to attracting foreign investment.

Christofias said there is "nothing wrong" with seeking out what is best for Cyprus.

"Russia is not the Soviet Union of yesterday. Russia is trying to set up a capitalist system," he added amid disquiet in Brussels at the extent of Russian influence on the strategically important island.

The President denied that he would reject an EU loan to take on a Russian loan only.

He also said the country "can combine both," as Cyprus needs money for "development" and for recapitalising its banks.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Brexit prompts trade limbo

Brexit has landed EU trade policy, as well as the UK, in limbo land. At least one trade deal has already been put on ice, and others may well follow.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. HuaweiMaking cities smarter and safer
  2. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  3. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  4. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  5. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  6. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  7. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  8. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  9. GoogleA Little Bird Told us to Start Tweeting About Google’s Work Across Europe. Learn More @GoogleBrussels
  10. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?
  11. Counter BalanceThe Investment Plan for Europe: Business as Usual or True Innovation ?
  12. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016