Thursday

19th Oct 2017

Cypriot minister in Moscow as Putin enters bailout crisis

  • Russia - holding the key to the Cypriot debt crisis? (Photo: Holy Trinity Church of Pārdaugava)

Cypriot finance minister Michalis Sarris headed for Moscow early on Wednesday (20 March) for talks with his Russian counterpart, finance minister Anton Siluanov, in the latest twist of the island's bailout drama.

Speaking on Cypriot news channel CNA, Sarris said that he would not leave Moscow until a deal had been reached. "The situation needs to be resolved today," he said, confirming that the meeting with Siluanov would "discuss how Russia could assist in finding the billions needed."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The Moscow mission comes as Cyprus seeks an alternative to the controversial €10 billion EU rescue rejected on Tuesday night by the Cypriot parliament.

Following the vote, which did not see a single MP back the bailout, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone conference with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

According to a statement issued by the Kremlin, Putin "expressed concern about possible measures that could harm the interests of Russian legal entities and citizens" on the Mediterranean island.

The statement added that Putin and Anastasiades would "continue consultations on this issue both in a bilateral format and with the European Commission."

Earlier, Putin had described the EU's proposed €5.8 billion one-off levy on Cypriot savers' money as "unfair, unprofessional and dangerous."

The close involvement of Moscow in the Cypriot mess is a new development in the eurozone crisis.

But Cyprus and Russia have had strong links ever since the Mediterranean island declared its independence from Britain in 1960.

Economic and military ties between the two countries advanced since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Some EU officials have in the past referred to Cyprus, which joined the EU in 2004, as Moscow's "Trojan donkey."

Cyprus is officially the third largest foreign investor in Russia, while the island courted controversy and a diplomatic row with Turkey in 1998 after striking a $200 million deal to buy 40 surface-to-air missiles from Moscow.

Credit rating agency Moody's estimates that around €25 billion of Russian money is held in Cypriot bank accounts, with loans worth a further $40 billion (€32 billion) having been pumped in to Russian companies in Cyprus.

Cyprus is also hoping to delay the repayment of a €2.5 billion loan granted by Russia in November 2011.

Meanwhile, early on Wednesday reports on Cypriot TV channel Sigma, and covered elsewhere, indicated that Russian giant Gazprom had submitted an offer to the Cypriot government to take control of part of the country's banking sector in exchange for access and exploration rights to the country's natural gas reserves. Gazprom has yet to make an official comment.

Cyprus rejects bailout deal

The eurozone plunged into uncertainty on Tuesday after the Cypriot parliament rejected its EU bailout plan by an overwhelming majority.

Cyprus struggling on bailout Plan B

With no firm offer from Russia, Cypriot officials are scrambling to find alternative money to secure a €10 billion EU bailout.

EU okays Privacy Shield's first year

Commission gives 'thumbs-up' to controversial Privacy Shield deal with US on data sharing after a year's operation - but notes room for improvement.

Court hearing in MEPs 'private' expenses battle

The European parliament claims the media and public do not have a right to supervise or monitor the public role of MEPs, says Natasa Pirc Musar, a lawyer representing journalists, in a transparency battle against the assembly.

News in Brief

  1. EU summit moved to previous building after fumes scare
  2. Catalonia will 'not back down'
  3. New toxic incident in EU building ahead of summit
  4. Murdered Malta journalist's family invited to Parliament
  5. EU food safety chief denies keeping studies 'secret'
  6. EU states pledge 24,000 resettlement places so far
  7. US ready for arms sale to update Greece's F-16 fleet
  8. Austria's Green leaders step down following election failure

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU okays Privacy Shield's first year
  2. EU seeks to decrypt messages in new anti-terror plan
  3. EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote
  4. Spain points at elections as exit to Catalan crisis
  5. How EU can ensure Daphne Caruana Galizia's legacy survives
  6. Juncker dinner to warm up relations with eastern EU
  7. Court hearing in MEPs 'private' expenses battle
  8. The unbearable lightness of leadership