Cyprus. The year was marked by a fight between the
government and international lenders about how the country's
economy would get on its feet. The crisis was dealt with
from March by President and also Prime Minister Nicos
Anastasiades from the right-wing party DISY (Democratic
Assembly), who resigned from the presidential elections held
in two rounds on 17 and 24 February.
In March, the so-called troika - the European Commission,
the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) - offered Cyprus € 10 billion in
emergency loans on condition that the country's government
privatized government property worth € 1.4 billion and
forced it another EUR 5.8 billion from the country's banks.
The banks had ended up insolvent after lending money, among
other things. deposits from Russian oligarchs, to Greek
banks where they had largely been lost. Russian citizens
were estimated to have approximately EUR 20 billion invested
in Cypriot banks, almost one third of the banks' total
assets. Germany believed that Cyprus, with low taxes and
high savings rates, was a center for Russian money
A tax on deposited funds was proposed, but the criticism
was sharp as the tax would violate the EU deposit guarantee.
After hard negotiations, Cyprus and the troika agreed that a
one-time tax of up to 40% would be levied on assets over EUR
100,000. The agreement also meant that the country's second
largest bank, Cyprus Popular Bank, also called Laiki, was
wound up. Deposits of less than EUR 100,000 were transferred
to the country's largest bank, Bank of Cyprus, which was
restructured. The agreement, which also included pay cuts
for civil servants and a new property tax, was voted on in
Parliament on April 30.
Countryaah, many Cypriots feared their money would disappear. The
queues rang long at the ATMs when people took out their
savings. A strict capital control was introduced which
allowed withdrawals of a maximum of EUR 300 per day, that
foreign travelers were allowed to carry a maximum of EUR
1,000 and that international transactions should not exceed
EUR 5,000 per day. These restrictions were later relieved
The protracted negotiations led to the total cost of
saving the economy in April estimated to have risen to EUR
23 billion. Anastasiades announced new budget-strengthening
measures, and the first part of the emergency loan, EUR 3
billion, was paid out in May.
Former Defense Minister Costas Papacostas was sentenced
in July to guilty of manslaughter in connection with the
explosion on a military base that claimed the lives of 13
people in 2011. The sentence was five years in prison.
Former Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou, who was also
charged in the case, was acquitted.
A 25-year-old Swedish man with Lebanese background was
sentenced on March 21 to four years in prison for
commissioning an attack on the Israeli Hizbullah guerrilla
on an attack on Israeli interests in Cyprus. The man had
admitted that he had spied on Israeli tourists on the