But how dare they?
It all started in the early hours of Saturday 16 March, when the Eurogroup announced its decision regarding the bail-out of Cyprus.
According to the decision, out of the 17 billion Euros needed 10 billion will be provided by the lenders – the Eurozone states – and 5.8 billion will be the result of a bank deposit haircut. According to the plan, the bank deposit funds would be seized before Tuesday 19 March as Monday was a public holiday in Cyprus.
The Financial Times has reported that the hard liners who pushed this through the Eurogroup are not the usual suspects alone. In Germany it is not Angela Merkel’s CDU alone. It is also the SPD (socialdemocrats) and the Greens.
The “arguments” are more frightening than the haircut itself.
Cypriots are standing on weak moral ground!
They are letting the Russians and other “bad” people bring in their “dirty” money and now they want to be left untouched!
Banks in Cyprus is that they are too big compared to the islands economy!
Why should the hard working tax payers of the North bail out the lazy bastards of the South?
Is this the way towards a united Europe? Hardly so.
This unanimous Eurogroup decision had to be ratified by the Cypriot Parliament.
The Parliament vote was initially to be taken on Sunday, but was postponed for Monday.
Mr. Anastassiades, the newly elected President of Cyprus, addressed the Cypriots on Sunday evening, saying that there was no other solution. It was either this or bankruptcy.
Later, the Monday vote was rescheduled for Tuesday.
As I write this, the Cypriot PArliament has rejected any haircut on deposits as “decided” by the Eurogroup.
This means that the an alternative has to be found. It also means that Cypus has said “no” to the Eurogroup, the IMF, the European Central Bank.
Talking to Cypriot friends yesterday, I had a premonition about hte “no”.
The mood on the island was and is not exactly a mood of solemn acceptance of Eurogroup’s dictates.
It is clear that this is a fiasco from which the Eurozone will be hard hit.
It is also a time when some politicians in Greece should reconsider their conduct and approach.
The small island of Cyprus could be showing another way.