Eurogroup: Dijsselbloem’s new style exasperates Cyprus

12 February 2013 – Presseurop De Volkskrant

The new president of Eurogroup, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem is starting off with a bang. At the eurozone Finance Ministers' meeting on February 11, which discussed the aid plan requested by Nicosia, De Volkskrant reports that Dijsselbloem managed to irk his Cypriot colleague by refusing to rule out calling for a contribution to the bailout from Cypriot banks and private savings. As the Dutch daily explains —

Several Member States want the island's banking sector to make a strong contribution to consolidating the State's finances in order to ensure that the emergency fund is not overly solicited.

A Cypriot diplomat, quoted by De Volkskrant, calls the Dutch minister's approach "totally unacceptable," and warns that it could prompt a bank run that could sink the Cypriot banking sector even further. The paper reports that Dijsselbloem declined "to answer questions about a possible panic among Cypriot savers" — much to the annoyance of the Cypriot diplomat, who points out that the former president of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, “would never have done that". The newspaper continues —

EU Commissioner for Economic Affairs [Olli] Rehn tried to calm things down by saying that the "financial and banking stability" of Cyprus was of paramount importance, but to no avail.

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