Cyprus: MEPs criticise handling of bailout programme 

MEPs were very critical of how the Cyprus bailout had been handled 

MEPs hit out at the handling of the Cyprus bailout programme during a debate on Wednesday morning, blaming the Eurogroup for its appalling communication, the Commission for not defending insured depositors and politicians for having double standards.


Opening the debate, Olli Rehn, the commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, said that the Commission would have preferred a more gradual adjustment for Cyprus, but this was not possible as member states were only committing €10 billion. Mr Rehn added it was time to stop the blame game.


MEPs condemned how the bailout had been handled. Jean-Paul Gauzès, a French member of the EPP group, said that the Eurogroup's appalling communication was central to the fiasco. He also blamed the EU institutions for not being vigilant enough and Cypriot banks for having built up too much risk. 

Hannes Swoboda, the Austrian leader of the S&D group, criticised the Council and more particularly Germany for behaving in a "near colonial way".  He also called on the Commission to disband the troika, a partnership between the Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which oversees the implementation of bailout packages.

Jan Zahradil, a Czech member of the ECR group, said that the real problem was much wider than what was happening in Cyprus. Cyprus was being used as an excuse to attack national fiscal sovereignty, he said.

Nigel Farage, the British co-chair of the EFD group, accused the Commission of criminal behaviour, robbing people to prop up the euro project. He concluded that no-one has confidence in the euro.

 Takis Hadjigeorgiou, a Cypriot member of the GUE/NGL group, accused the EPP political family of having double standards, by supporting the Cypriot cause within the EP, but not within the Eurogroup. He also criticised the Council for imposing measures on Cyprus which it would never apply to larger countries.

Need for answers

Guy Verhofstadt, the Belgian leader of the ALDE group, said that it was essential to find out exactly what had gone wrong  adding that the European Central Bank, the troika and Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem had difficult questions to answer.  If these answers are not forthcoming then the EP should set up an inquiry committee, he said.

Possible solutions

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the French co-chair of the Greens/EFA group, said that the real solution for Cyprus was to reunite the island in order to stimulate growth and attract investment. Meanwhile Laurence Stassen, a Dutch MEP unattached to any of the political groups in the EP, said that the only solution for Cyprus was for the country to leave the eurozone, adding that the Netherlands should not be contributing any further to the bailout