Schaeuble says euro zone savings deposits are safe

BERLIN, March 30 Sat Mar 30, 2013 5:21am EDT

BERLIN, March 30 (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said savings accounts in the euro zone are safe, adding that Cyprus is a "special case" and not a template for future rescues.

In an interview with Bild newspaper published on Saturday, Schaeuble distanced himself from comments on Monday by Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who said the rescue programme agreed for Cyprus - the first to impose a levy on bank deposits - would serve as a model for future crises.

"Cyprus is and will remain a special one-off case," Schaeuble said.

"The savings accounts in Europe are safe."

Schaeuble said the problem in Cyprus was that two large banks in Cyprus were in effect no longer solvent and the Cyprus government did not have enough money to guarantee savings.

"That's why the other euro zone countries had to help," he said. "Together in the Eurogroup we decided to have the owners and creditors take part in the costs of the rescue - in other words those who helped cause the crisis."

Schaeuble said he was confident Cyprus would be able to completely pay back the help. "Cyprus's economy will now go through a long and painful period of adjustment. But then it will pay back the loan when it is on a solid economic foundation."

Schaeuble said the euro was stronger today than at any time since 2010.

"Yes, you could see that during the Cyprus crisis," he said. "The entire turbulence did not have any impact on the other countries in Southern Europe."

He said it was different in early 2012, when elections in Greece caused interest rates across Southern Europe to rise.

"The financial markets have seen: we are better prepared now. We've accomplished quite a bit," Schaeuble said.

He said he was against thinking about individual countries leaving the euro zone. "What is more important is that we are strong enough to keep everyone in the boat," he said.

"I believe that we will one day read in the history books about this period that the crisis brought Europe even closer together," he said, adding the continent was currently enjoying "a very fortunate era".

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (1)
MikeBarnett wrote:
Nothing in the EU is safe until the governments stop trying to “poverty” their way to prosperity. Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Hungary, Greece, and Cyprus have all been in the news for financial problems that come increasingly close to Germany, the last bastion that does not have enough money to solve the problem. Nations need businesses to provide jobs for workers with paychecks who become customers and taxpayers. The profits, paychecks, and purchases create the taxes that balance governmental budgets. Austerity alone fails, so the EU bank deposits are not safe whether from governmental confiscation or from withdrawals to buy necessities when all other systems fail.

Apr 01, 2013 6:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.