Thursday, 14 March
Nicos Anastasiades attends his first European Council in Brussels as president of Cyprus. The meeting is a quiet affair with little indication of the storm that is about to hit. Eurozone leaders start their own talks shortly before midnight. Cyprus is discussed but there are no formal decisions.
Friday, 15 March
Eurozone finance ministers hold an extra-ordinary meeting to agree terms of Cyprus bail-out. Unprecedented decision to demand that Cyprus contributes €5.8 billion through a one-off levy on ordinary citizens’ bank deposits on top of the €10bn that it will receive in international loans is met with surprise when announced in early hours of Saturday morning.
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Saturday, 16 March
As Cypriots wake up to the news, panic sets in. Some bank cash machines run out of money as citizens try to avoid the levy. International Monetary Fund says it supports the plan while Michael Sarris, the Cypriot finance minister, says that without the deal the situation would be much worse.
Sunday, 17 March
Anger grows in Cyprus, prompting Anastasiades to postpone until Monday a vote in the country’s parliament to ratify the deal. The UK, which has thousands of its nationals living in Cyprus, says it will compensate its military personnel and civil servants for any losses.
Monday, 18 March
A scheduled bank holiday in Cyprus. Vladimir Putin’s spokesman says that the Russian president believes the bail-out plan to be “unfair, unprofessional and dangerous”. The parliamentary vote is delayed again, until Tuesday, as the Cypriot authorities change the plan to exempt deposits below €20,000. Anti-EU protests start on the streets of Nicosia. Eurozone finance ministers hold an emergency conference call, refusing to increase the bail-out loans and demanding swift approval in Cyprus, but adding that “small depositors should be treated differently from large depositors”.
Tuesday, 19 March
No Cypriot MP supports the plan in the parliamentary vote. The European Central Bank says that it will continue to give emergency aid to Cyprus’s stricken banks, which remained closed for an unplanned second day. Finance Minister Sarris denies offering to resign as he begins talks with the Russian government over financial assistance from Moscow. The UK sends a flight containing €1 million in low-denomination notes to Cyprus to help its military staff.
Wednesday, 20 March
Banks remain shut, and will stay closed for the rest of the week as Anastasiades holds crisis talks with the troika of the ECB, IMF and European Commission and main party leaders. Sarris is in Moscow as negotiations with Russia continue.