Eurozone finance ministers have refused to be drawn on the terms of Cyprus's forthcoming bail-out, appearing to leave all options open – apart from Greek-style private-sector involvement.
Ministers, who met on Monday (11 February), declined to take any decision on Cyprus – which is expected to need up to €17.5 billion – until they reconvene next month, by which time the country's new president will be installed (see page 11).
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chaired the Eurogroup meeting for the first time, said that ministers agreed to call for an independent report on Cyprus's efforts to counter money-laundering – the outcome of which could determine the terms of any financial rescue.
On Tuesday (12 February), Olli Rehn, the European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs and the euro, ruled out enforcing losses on private bondholders in a similar fashion to the conditions of Greece's bail-out last year. He said that this solution was “unique and specific” to Greece.
Ministers also discussed whether to limit the amount of money that the area's rescue fund can use to recapitalise banks directly. The 17 ministers will spend every monthly meeting between now and June discussing the terms of the European Stability Mechanism's (ESM) new role in recapitalising banks – a move enabled when EU leaders approved the establishment of the single bank supervisory mechanism. Dijsselbloem said that exploration of the issue would continue “in the coming months”.