Awaiting a 10 billion euros ($13 billion) rescue package from international lenders, new Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades was in Athens on March 31 looking for another two billion euros ($2.6 billion) in aid despite Greece’s crushing economic crisis where the government is relying on bailouts and imposing harsh austerity measures.
Anastasiades was to hold talks with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who backed demands from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) that Cyprus confiscate up to 80 percent or more of uninsured bank deposits.
Anastasiades planned to also meet the partners in the New Democracy leader Samaras’ coalition, PASOK Socialist chief Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (DIMAR) head Fotis Kouvelis, as well as Greek President Karolos Papoulias and Alexis Tsipras of the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRZA) who opposes the conditions of the bailouts in Greece and Cyprus.
Anastasiades was accompanied by Finance Minister Michalis Sarris and the newspaper Kathimerini said they would ask Samaras, who is struggling to keep his own economy from collapsing, to give Cyprus the two billion euros from Greece’s 48 billion euros ($61.5 billion) bank recapitalization scheme.
Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, repeated his insistence that Cyprus should return to the Pound denomination if the Troika conditions are too tough to meet. “If they want to destroy us (through harsh demands,) then we say goodbye to the euro … we can survive with the Cyprus pound,” he said.