Opinion
March 21, 2013

Cyprus: between a rock and a hard place

Most attention in Canada is focused on today’s federal budget. But think of Cyprus, caught between striking a deal with the International Monetary Fund or a bail-out by the Russians. Neither is a savory option.

Cypriots rejected the “haircut” of imposing a tax of 10% on large savings accounts and lesser amounts on smaller accounts. Time for Plan B. Finance Minister Michael Sarris is in Moscow negotiating with Putin, and busily tweeting that he hasn’t resigned.

Now parliamentarians are talking about a “National Solidarity Fund” that will “collateralize” some assets – pensions, gas reserves, etc.

Meanwhile, back at the ATM line up, the concern is that the crisis will lead to a run on the banks when they re-open next week.

Might not a simple solution be to tax (excuse me, place a transaction fee) on withdrawals? It slows down the run on the banks, and provides some income, and breathing space, while option C is designed and pursued.

Kind of puts the early spring snowstorm some of Canada is experiencing in perspective, n’est-ce pas?

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