(Adds comments after euro zone ministers' meeting)
BRUSSELS Feb 11 Cyprus's finance minister drew
no clear support on Monday from his euro zone peers for his
refusal to impose losses on bank depositors as part of the
country's bailout programme.
Cyprus needs some 17 billion euros in a loan programme from
the euro zone to recapitalise its banks, which were hit by the
Greek sovereign debt restructuring, and finance government
spending over the next three years.
Because such a bailout would almost equal the country's
gross domestic product, euro zone officials are examining
various ideas for how to make the island's debt sustainable.
Some proposals have been strongly opposed by the European
Central Bank, the European Commission and some euro zone
countries, such as imposing losses on depositors in Cypriot
banks or restructuring Cypriot sovereign debt.
"I would say that the bail-in of depositors is a grossly
exaggerated possibility, unlikely to happen, we will not accept
it under any circumstances and I don't think it creates any way
forward," Cypriot Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly said on his
way in to euro zone finance ministers meeting to discuss
elements of an emergency lending programme.
He was responding to a newspaper story which listed losses
for bank depositors as one option under consideration in setting
up a bailout for Cyprus on the basis of a memo prepared for the
EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn told
a news conference after the meeting of the ministers that the
Commission had not proposed any solutions that would involve a
Cypriot sovereign debt restructuring or imposing losses on
But the chairman of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen
Dijsselbloem, asked if he could exclude the idea that depositors
in Cyprus would lose money, avoided a direct answer.
"Tonight where Cyprus is concerned we zoomed in on the issue
of anti-money laundering and didn't go into any possible, or not
possible, elements of a programme so I can't go into these
elements with you," Dijsselbloem said.
(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Hugh Lawson)