Posted: Mar 18, 2013 10:22 AM by Associated Press
Updated: Mar 18, 2013 10:41 AM
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - Cyprus banks will remain closed until Thursday as lawmakers try to amend a measure to raid bank accounts in the country.
Aliki Stylianou, a spokeswoman for Cyprus' central bank, says Monday's bank holiday has been extended by two days.
The extension comes after a proposal to seize a percentage of all bank deposits in Cyprus, a move that was demanded as a condition for a €10 billion ($13.09 billion) international rescue package.
Cypriot lawmakers are now in talks to soften the blow for small savers before they approve the bailout. The parliamentary approval vote has been postponed from Monday until Tuesday evening.
The news was a big surprise and stoked fears that deposits in other countries could be targeted. Shares around the world and the euro took a pounding Monday even though the Cypriot economy accounts for only 0.2 percent of the combined output of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro.The Cypriot government is now trying to modify the terms of the original deal and in particular to get a better deal for small savers with less than €100,000. The weekend deal foresaw a one-off levy of 6.75 percent on those savings, rising to 9.9 percent for those above the €100,000 mark.
"I believe (the levy) was a bad idea but they imposed it on us," Cypriot Finance Minister Michalis Sarris told reporters in Parliament Monday. Sarris said the levy was the least worst option since the country's euro area partners had insisted on a much larger savings cut.
Cyprus' banks were closed Monday for a scheduled public holiday.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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