Cyprus lifts limits on clients of foreign banks
NICOSIA (AP) – Cypriot authorities have lifted money withdrawal and transfer restrictions on island resident clients of 16 foreign banks. The Finance Ministry said yesterday that this applies to residents of Cyprus who had accounts at those banks before restrictions on foreign lenders doing business in the country were imposed on April 25. Before yesterday’s decree, only clients who were not permanent Cyprus residents enjoyed restriction-free services from those banks. Cyprus imposed the restrictions – including a 300-euro-perday withdrawal limit – on all lenders in March to prevent a bank run after it agreed a 23-billion-euro rescue package with its euro-area partners and the International Monetary Fund. Some restrictions have since been lifted.
A proposed gas pipeline to link Cyprus to Crete and then mainland Greece or Italy will be in a European Union list of strategic projects eligible for financial support, Cypriot officials said yesterday. Cyprus has high hopes its natural gas reserves can be developed quickly to help revive its broken economy. Its priority is to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, but a pipeline could have advantages for Europe. LNG, which can be shipped anywhere in the world, is typically sold to the most lucrative market. A pipeline would guarantee that some gas supplies reached EU consumers. “The European Union will include the East Med Pipeline in the revised list of projects of common interest within the Southern Corridor for gas,” George Shammas, chairman of the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority, said. Cyprus Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis also said he had information the EU would include the pipeline, although he added that Cyprus had to study the feasibility of the link. The Southern Corridor is the EU name for routes to ship gas from Central Asia, the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean basin to diversify supplies and reduce dependence on Russian gas.