Cypriot banks have reopened after being closed for two-weeks following the EU-IMF bailout negotiations with Cypriots forming orderly queues despite the anger over the bailouts terms.
The islands banks were replenished with cash overnight and a heavy security presence was deployed over fears of a clamour by residents to get their money out of the country. So far this has not happened.
The international media had expected or perhaps wanted to see massive crowds and irate people battling their way into the banks, instead the press was met with calm and dignified Cypriots patiently forming orderly queues. If anything the worlds news crews outnumbered the people waiting patiently to get inside.
The restrictions imposed on the free movement of money may be a breach of one of the EU’s core principles but the Cypriots showed that they had the strength and determination to face their challenges head on and with patience.
Local bank branches opened at noon local time although some were delayed. The majority of the longest queues were found outside the doors of branches of the Laiki bank which is due to be wound up costing depositors billions of Euros.
As it became clear that calm was being maintained, President Nicos Anastasiades tweeted his gratitude.
“I would like to thank the Cypriot people for their maturity and collectedness shown in their interactions with the Cypriot Banks,” he wrote.
Despite the calm many Cypriots want to move their cash out of the country with one customer saying that withdrew the imposed daily limit of €300 but would take out all of his money if he could.
British Cypriot businessman, Costa Thomas, said he had lost faith in the system.
“No-one really trusts politicians. So why should we believe them that these controls are going to last only a few weeks and we’re going to get shares and get the money back?” he asked.
Others are taking a more patriotic attitude to the situation, vowing to keep their money in the banks for the good of Cyprus.
Whatever happens over the coming days, Cyprus is set to face some very tough and difficult times.
The Euro has gained against the US Dollar and a number of its peers due to the relative calm in Cyprus. Now attention is turning to Slovenia which is expected to be the next Eurozone domino to request an international bailout.
As of 15:20 pm
The Euro to Pound Sterling exchange rate is currently trading in the region of 0.8452
The Euro to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading in the region of 1.2817
The Euro to Australian Dollar exchange rate is currently trading in the region of 1.2306
The Euro to New Zealand Dollar exchange rate is currently trading in the region of 1.5316