France’s Moscovici Says Cyprus Needs to Say What It Wants

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said that Cyprus needs to decide what it wants and that euro area governments have already offered the nation enough help.

“The government of Cyprus needs to decide what it wants,” Moscovici said today on RMC radio. “It needs to make a choice both for Europe and for its people to find a solution that is durable and fair.”

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is meeting with advisers to draft a new plan to stave off financial collapse after lawmakers rejected a proposed levy on bank deposits. The country’s central bank declared that lenders would remain shut for another two days, effectively barring Cypriots from their accounts until March 26 when they’re due to reopen after a national holiday.

“When you have a banking system seven times the size of the economy with depositors being paid 5 or 6 percent, many are Russians, a corporate tax rate of 10 percent and banks that are practically bankrupt, you have to act,” Moscovici said. “We’re lending 10 billion euros to Cyprus. We’re asking 7 billion euros of Cyprus. Do we want it to be the French, German or Italian taxpayer who pays?”

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