Cyprus Bailout: MPs Stumble Towards Deal
The Cypriot parliament has approved a number of measures designed to restructure the economy and raise funds in order to secure an EU bailout.
MPs voted in favour of a "national solidarity fund" - which would nationalise pension funds, with bonds issued against future natural gas revenues - and capital controls to prevent a run on the island's troubled banks.
They also backed legislation to permit the restructuring of troubled banks to prevent their collapse.
The first of the package of measures were agreed shortly after it emerged Cyprus was reportedly considering a levy of 15% on all bank deposits over 100,000 euros as its attempt to secure a rescue for the economy.
The original terms of the EU bailout for Cyprus proposed by the troika of international lenders would have slapped a levy on all bank deposits - 6.75% on accounts holding up to 100,000 euros and 9.9% on those over that - in order to raise 5.8bn euros (£4.9bn).
But that was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs earlier in the week, leaving them less than a week to find a 'Plan B' with which to raise the cash.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has said it will only guarantee assistance until Monday night without a new aid programme being in place.
Cyprus state television reported the levy, albeit in a revised form, was now back on the table in negotiations with eurozone lenders after other attempts to secure funding had failed.
The Bank of Cyprus, the island's largest, has urged politicians to accept a tax on bank deposits in order to prevent collapse.
"It should be understood by everyone ... especially from the 56 members of parliament ... there should not be any further delay in the adoption of the eurogroup proposal to impose a levy on deposits more than 100,000 to save our banking system," bank chairman Andreas Artemis said in a statement.
The chief of ailing Cyprus Popular Bank, the island's second largest, also criticised attempts to find another solution.
"Although we knew the gravity of the situation, and the initial proposal of the eurogroup was painful, it ensured the future of the banking sector," Takis Phidias told state radio.
The levy, as well as a number of other contentious measures, remain to be debated by parliament.
Nonetheless President Nicos Anastasiades and party leaders will travel to Brussels later to present the plan to the country's prospective creditors, its fellow eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.
Banks in Cyprus have been shut since last Friday and will stay closed until next Tuesday amid fears that the ongoing crisis will prompt a run on them.
Cash machines have seen long queues as customers have tried to get at least some of their savings out of the stricken banking system.