Cyprus: a haircut for the people, a pay cut for President Nicos Anastasiades – but banks open amid tight security and cash restrictions that could last a month

Restrictions could be fully lifted in a month, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides says

Cyprus’s banks finally opened for business today, 12 days after they were locked down as the island’s financial crisis intensified. Savers formed orderly queues in the morning sun before the doors opened at 12pm. Many of those queueing were elderly people without cash cards who have been starved of money since their government began negotiating a €10bn bailout with Europe to keep the country afloat.

There was little sign of the panic many Cypriots were fearing as private security guards and police kept a watchful eye on the crowds. The capital controls imposed on Wednesday appeared to have prevented a run on the banks, but Cyprus’s Foreign Minister delivered a fresh blow when  he said that the restrictions could be in place for up to a month, much longer than had been originally announced.

President Nicos Anastasiades praised his compatriots for their “maturity and collectedness”, while announcing that he would be taking a 25 per cent pay cut as part of the belt-tightening all Cypriots will now face. He also imposed a 20 per cent haircut on his cabinet ministers’ salaries.

“I’m here to get money, I don’t have any money to eat, I haven’t for 10 days,” said Fotino, 52, clutching her bank book as she waited to enter the Bank of Cyprus in Nicosia’s Freedom Square.

A few doors down near a branch of Laiki bank a man railed against the EU and Germany, which led the push to make Cyprus raise €5.8bn to qualify for €10bn in funding from the International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. “Everybody wants to destroy Cyprus,” he shouted, shaking with rage.  The bank will be closed as part of the bailout deal, its accounts with more than €100,000 frozen alongside those in the Bank of Cyprus.

Others were keen to avoid such scenes, especially as the capital control measures meant they would not be able to access most of their money for many days to come.

People with bank account in Cyprus can now only take out €300 a day from banks. They are not allowed to take more than €1,000 cash out of the country, and credit card spending abroad is limited to €5,000 a month. Overseas money transfers are also severely restricted.

“There’s going to be queues so I’m not going to spend so many hours there to get €300,” said Roula Spyrou, a jewellery shop owner.

The measures were initially in place for four days, but the Cypriot foreign minister, Ioannis Kasoulides , said this evening that it could take up to a month to lift all the restrictions. “A number of restrictions will be lifted and gradually – probably over a period of about a month – the restrictions will be fully lifted,” he said.

Large amounts of money had already left the country before the bailout deal was struck. Figures released by the Central Bank showed that savers from other eurozone countries withdrew 18 per cent of their deposits in February.

Cyprus is expected to start receiving the funds from the ECB and IMF in May. It needed the money to stay solvent and in the single currency, after its bloated financial sector suffered massive losses during the crisis in Greece. The President’s office yesterday announced that it had appointed a panel to investigate who was to blame for the crisis at the banks.

Laiki bank is due to be wound down, with deposits under €100,000 transferred to the Bank of Cyprus to form a “good” bank. Deposits over €100,000 in both banks will take a loss, but the government has not yet said how much will be docked from the accounts.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence