I wasn’t against it at first. It did strike me as somewhat unusual, so I wasn’t for it either. As a Greek citizen bearing the brunt of my own country’s bankruptcy for the 5th consecutive year, my gut reaction was: ‘Cypriots will pay much less in this manner compared to what their Greek counterparts paid in a gazillion other – type tax raids. The finance sector in Cyprus is huge, so other means of tax collecting would probably not yield much anyway. Of course there is the enormous issue of trust that is broken. I wonder if the Greek example of persistent failure to comply with pledges made also led them to take such a big risk.’ For even in my first reaction I could see all along that it was a big risk you were taking. Playing Russian ‘bank run’ roulette that could generate a general domino effect among the EU.
But I am not averse to calculated risk taking as a matter of principle. In fact, regardless of whether or not your plan backfires, it is not your decision that I will blame you for, but the motives behind it. For on closer inspection of the situation, it becomes apparent that you placed Cyprus in front of an abominable Catch 22. If they vote no, their economy crumbles in 2 seconds flat. If they vote yes, either their economy crumbles a bit later or manages to just about stay afloat but suffers the dissolution of a major source of GDP.
For even if Cypriots don’t take their money and run, all foreign investors certainly will. Perhaps you’d rather not tell your voters that you will be LENDING THEIR MONEY WITH INTEREST (hint – hint) to save non – EU citizens’ deposits, but doesn’t your position require you to rise above such parochial concerns? (note: this was a rhetorical question) Perhaps also you have something against Russians, but until you have proof positive that money is laundered in Cypriot banks, please refrain from claiming so. And just out of curiosity, is money in Swiss and Luxembourg banks squeaky clean and white as snow or are the banks in Northern Europe into which savings are now free flowing from the South less bankrupt than Cypriot ones? Hypocrisy, pettiness, vindictiveness and cunning riddance of competition all rolled into one. And Puritanism to boot: make an example out of the Cypriots, completely overlooking their previous mostly good conduct, forgetting that they suffered a full blown Turkish invasion and were back on their feet in no time, stronger than ever, stronger than you were most of the time! Punish the beggars, withhold the peanuts that are the missing 6 bil to you, even though you know, or should know, very well that they have a completely different mistake and work record than that of Greeks, who are the ones who could use an ultimatum or two hung over their heads. But you are too scared of the Greeks aren’t you? Too scared to say, for example: “OK, ‘nough’ s enough, fire those civil servants or go to bankruptcy hell’. Too scared because you think they form too big an economy to let bankrupt. So in true cowardly fashion, you bully the smallest classmate, just because you think you can.
I am deeply ashamed of you, EU. For we expected nothing more from the IMF, but what kind of Union is this that puts such an impossible dilemma against its fellow member’s head?
Since this crisis began, it has been becoming more and more clear every day that there is something seriously rotten in the heart of European politics; something that had to do with slow and uninformed policy making, euro currency structural flaws, Germany, Britain, North, South and other such vague concepts. But this latest Cyprus trick, full of ethically wrong impetus, brings us all pro-European airheads back to earth with a thud.
Time to think: is this the Europe we really want?