Cyprus Seeks 11th Hour Deal
by Stephen Lendman
Grand theft is official policy.
When politicians conspire with bankers, ordinary people suffer most. Cypriot crisis conditions continue. One bad plan follows others.
The latest is unprecedented. Cypriot and Eurocrat officials are close to agreement. At issue is levying a one-time 20% tax on Bank of Cyprus deposits over 100,000 euros. Similar amounts in other banks will be assessed 4%.
Cyprus has to raise 5.8 billion euros by Monday. Otherwise emergency ECB funding will end. Eurocrats require it for a 10 billion euro bailout.
On Sunday, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will meet Eurocrats in Brussels. They have final say.
Cypriot legislators enacted nine related laws. They include non-cash transaction restrictions, freezing check cashing, limiting withdrawals, and converting checking accounts into fixed-term deposits.
Eurocrats demand more. They want their pound of flesh. Eurozone finance ministers scheduled an emergency Sunday evening Brussels meeting. IMF and ECB officials will join them.
Anastasiades will present his latest proposal. They have to agree. Cypriot parliament approval must follow. Events are fast moving. They bode ill for ordinary Cypriots.
Demonstrators protested outside the presidential palace. "Resign! Resign! they shouted. They fear lost jobs and hard times. Force-fed austerity assures it.
Cypriots face a Greek tragedy. Economist Yanis Varoufakis explained. Social conditions are appalling. Austerity "led to a depressed economy and a depressed population."
No "silver linings" exist. "Even profitable companies go under." Greek bank guarantees aren't accepted abroad.
Manufacturers can't import raw materials on credit. Their ability to produce is compromised. They can't supply customers.
Failed banks, private sector retrenchment, "savage" public sector cutbacks, and "ridiculous new taxes" produced a "Winter of Discontent." It persists with no end.
It's having a "massive social impact." Poor and elderly people raid rubbish bins for food. Families can't pay rent, phone and utility bills.