Legislators in Cyprus approve key bailout bills

Lawmakers in Cyprus will meet this weekend in an attempt to complete a package of bills to avert a financial crisis.

Petros Karadjias/Associated Press

Lawmakers in Cyprus will meet this weekend in an attempt to complete a package of bills to avert a financial crisis.

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Lawmakers in Cyprus approved three key bills Friday that aim to raise enough money to qualify the country for a broader bailout package and help it avoid financial ruin in days.

A total of nine bills were approved, including a key one on restructuring the nation’s banks, which lost billions on bad Greek debt; one on restricting financial transactions in times of crisis; and one that sets up a ‘solidarity fund’ into which investments and contributions will flow.


More bills to meet the total target of $7.5 billion Cyprus needs to secure an international bailout will be brought for a vote during the weekend.

They include a crucial one that would impose a tax of less than 1 percent on all bank deposits, said Averof Neophytou, of the governing DISY party.

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‘‘We are voting for the least worst option,’’ Neophytou said in a speech. ‘‘We owe an apology to the Cypriot people because we all share in the responsibility of bringing this place to this state.’’

Approval of the tax would come just days after Parliament decisively turned down a plan that would have seized up to 10 percent of residents’ bank deposits. The plan triggered an outcry from those who condemned it as an unfair grab of their life savings, while politicians saw it as causing irreparable damage to the nation’s financial center status.

Cyprus’ president, Nicos Anastasiades, travels to Brussels on Saturday to present his revised package to the nation’s prospective creditors and its fellow countries that use the euro currency. There has been no indication yet that they will accept it.


Cyprus has been told to raise $7.5 billion to qualify for rescue loans. The European Central Bank has said it will stop providing emergency funding to the country’s banks on Monday if a new plan is not in place.

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