March 21, 2013 - 09:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday, March 20 slammed the European Union and Cyprus for what he described as their dismal management of the island nation’s debt woes, RIA Novosti reported.
Medvedev told journalists from European media outlets in an interview that the mishandling of the crisis had undermined confidence in financial institutions, in Cyprus and beyond.
“The actions of the EU, the European Commission and the Cypriot government to settle the debt problem unfortunately only resemble the actions of a bull in a china shop,” Medvedev said.
Anxiety spread across Europe on Tuesday after the Cypriot parliament overwhelming rejected a windfall levy on bank accounts that international creditors, including the EU and the International Monetary Fund, had set as a condition for providing a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout.
The bill rejected this week envisioned a 6.75 percent levy on deposits of less than 100,000 euros ($128,950) and 9.9 percent on larger deposits.
Russian individuals and businesses stood to lose around $2 billion if the levy proposal had gone through. But if the island nation defaults on its obligations, Russian depositors risk losing over $50 billion, considering the loans granted by Russian banks to Cyprus-registered companies, Moody's estimates.
The Russian Prime Minister said the move would also affect Russian companies with state capital. “We have many open public structures operating through Cyprus, and their money has been blocked for unknown reasons,” Medvedev said. “That is why we have to take such a firm stance.”
He described the situation in Cyprus as “very complicated” and said the capital will flow out of the country’s economy regardless of decisions made by the Cypriot government.
“It is quite evident that no matter what they decide - whether to partially levy the deposits, which in my opinion looks like robbery, or not - the capital will flow out of Cyprus, leaving its banking system weakened. If this is what the EU decision is aimed at, then it is a very strange decision,” Medvedev said.
He said the majority of Russian individuals and businesses had put their money in Cypriot banks legitimately and the proportion of accounts that might involve shadow schemes of capital flight out of Russia was “not as significant as it is supposed.”
Cypriot Finance Minister Michael Sarris traveled to Moscow on Wednesday to discuss the extension of a 2.5-billion-euro loan from Russia in 2011 issued at a rate of 4.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the Eurogroup of EU finance ministers, says the European bailout is still on table, but that Cyprus would have to find a way of raising 6 billion euros ($7.8 billion) to unlock the package.