* Cyprus poses a systemic risk the euro zone -Eurogroup
* Euro zone bailout still on the table, Jeroen Dijsselbloem
* Dijsselbloem says Russia won't grant new loans to Cyprus
By Robin Emmott
BRUSSELS, March 21 Russia is not going to come
to Cyprus's rescue with new loans and any bailout of the
Mediterranean island will have to involve some kind of levy on
depositors, the man leading the euro zone's efforts to reach a
deal said on Thursday.
Cyprus has faced the prospect of bankruptcy since Tuesday
when its parliament voted unanimously against a levy on bank
deposits to raise almost 6 billion euros ($7.5 billion) demanded
by the euro zone, in addition to a 10 billion euro rescue.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs meetings of euro zone
finance ministers, said the deal offered early on Saturday was
not dead and that there were few alternatives for Cyprus.
"It's probably inevitable there will be some kind of levy in
the final package that we will agree upon," Dijsselbloem told
the European Parliament.
"The levy I can strongly defend, because it is a direct way
to ask a contribution of the deposits of the banking sector in
Cyprus, which is inevitable if you want to a build a package
which doesn't bring more loans and more debt to Cyprus," he
Warning that the problems in Cyprus pose a systemic risk to
the euro zone, he said he hoped Cyprus could agree a fairer
balance between depositors in their contribution to helping the
country out of its difficulties.
"The vast amount of deposits in Cyprus are not really
savers, they are investors," Dijsselbloem said.
At the centre of the furore is a proposal that puts the levy
on both savers with under 100,000 euros on deposit as well as
those over that level. Since there is in theory insurance on
deposits up to 100,000 euros, the plan would hit small savers.
Dijsselbloem said he and his euro zone peers had urged
Nicosia to avoid hitting accounts below 100,000 euros and to
instead increase the levy on big accounts.
"The Eurogroup thinks it's very important that we should
have a fair burden share, and that means a larger contribution
from large depositors than, of course, from small depositors."
Dijsselbloem said Cyprus should not hold out hope that
Moscow will come to the country's rescue if it cannot seal a
deal with the Eurogroup, saying an extension of a Russian 2.5
billion loan was under discussion.
"Any other options, to go further, another loan or an
investment in the banks, the Russians let us know that they are
not willing to do that. "Of course, the Cypriot government is
now talking to the Russian government whether more can be done,
I don't know the outcome of that yet.