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21 Mar, 2013 04:48

'Bull in a china shop’: Russian PM slams EU, Cyprus over crisis handling

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has criticized the actions of the EU and Cyprus in dealing with the island nation’s financial woes, describing the proposed deposit levy as a confiscatory measure.

This comes as Cyprus Finance Minister and top bankers are in Moscow seeking financial help after the EU proposal for a private savings levy was rejected by parliament.

So far the EU together with the Cyprus parliament have unfortunately acted like a bull in a china shop. I think all possible mistakes which could’ve been made in this situation have been made,” Medvedev told journalists from European media outlets, saying that the mishandling of the crisis had undermined confidence in financial institutions, in Cyprus and beyond.

Speaking later at the conference on the Russia-EU partnership, Medvedev called the EU-brokered scheme for resolving the Cyprus crisis “unpredictable and inconsistent.”

“We think that the suggested scheme of solving the financial problems surprises, to say the least, with its unpredictability and inconsistency,” he said, adding that the scheme has already been rearranged multiple times.

Finance Minister Michael Sarris, who heads the Cypriot delegation, has expressed hope that Moscow is going to lend money to Nicosia on acceptable conditions on Wednesday. This is despite calls from German Chancellor Angela Markel for Cyprus to hold talks only with the international creditors and not third parties like Russia. Earlier Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades discussed the economic situation in Cyprus with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has slammed the proposed deposits as "unfair, unprofessional and dangerous."

On Tuesday the Cypriot parliament voted against a revised bank deposit levy that international creditors, including the EU and the International Monetary Fund, had set as a condition for providing a 10 billion euro bailout. The tax was meant to shave 6.7 per cent off any deposits less than 100,000 euros and 9.9 per cent off larger deposits.  The controversial move caused uproar in the country and abroad.