German finance minister 'regrets' Cyprus' decision

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he regrets the decision Cyprus' parliament made to reject a proposed levy on savings in banks as a condition for a European bailout.

"We regret the decision," Mr Schaeuble told Germany's ZDF television. "Cyprus requested an aid programme. For an aid programme we need a calculable way for Cyprus to be able to return to the financial markets. For that, Cyprus' debts are too high".

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. Credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

He said Cyprus is now in a "serious situation" and it has no one to blame other than itself.

"In a situation like this, when an insolvency looms, then the creditors have to participate if they want to avoid an insolvency", Mr Schaeuble said.

"If you want to avoid that, then the investors in the bank have to make a corresponding contribution. Whether that's a 'bail in' or a levy, that's for Cyprus to decide itself", he added.

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UK customers escape bank levy

Around 15,000 savers in the UK arm of stricken Cypriot bank Laiki will see their deposits protected under British rules and will escape the Cyprus banking levy.