Socialists & Democrats demand „realistic proposal“ from Cypriot government

An overwhelming majority in the Cypriot parliament yesterday rejected a proposal for a one-off special levy to finance the European bailout of Cyprus. Hannes Swoboda, president of the S&D Group, demanded new impetus from the Cypriot president: „We have seen a disappointing misjudgement on the part of eurozone finance ministers who proposed introducing a special levy on savings. But the real failure lies with the Cypriot president and government, who came up with an unfair scheme where those who bear no responsibility for Cyprus‘ problems would have been hurt the hardest.

„The Cypriot president must now table a realistic proposal – which could include a genuine wealth tax or a financial transaction tax – to raise money from those who can afford it. One way to co-finance the bailout would be to raise the corporate tax rate. If Cyprus wants to succeed, it must part with its status of a tax haven. To approach Russia instead, for loans which would create a dependence on Russian money, could prove to be very dangerous for the Cypriot economy.

„The proposal that was rejected yesterday was a fake proposal which contradicted both logic and fairness. An exemption for savings of up to €20,000 is far from the guaranteed €100,000. It is shameful how nobody is taking responsibility for the decisions taken so far.“

Following comments by Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, on the insolvency of Cyprus‘ two major banks, Hannes Swoboda added:

„I strongly condemn the comments from the German finance minister and some others who have raised the possibility of some Cypriot banks staying closed indefinitely. To use language that can be understood as threats in this complex situation is counterproductive and certainly does not help restore the confidence of the Cypriot people.“