Poor Cyprus should threaten to confiscate bank deposits more often — that one move has gotten more global attention than 39 odd years of complaining about the Turkish invasion and forced partition of the island.
Maybe I’m being sentimental because of my heritage, but what I found amazing when we visited last summer was how good the basic quality of life there in spite of the number of not-trivial challenges it faces: declining tourism, endemic water shortages, 40 percent of the island under foreign occupation. In spite of it all, Cypriots seemed optimistic, the beaches were beautiful, the food fresh, delicious and nourishing (and mostly locally grown).
Ironically, Cypriots pushed to join the EU in 2004 for political, not economic reasons — after all in theory it should be much harder for its saber-rattling neighbor to the north to start another war if it knew doing so was an invasion of Europe itself. Now selling out to northern European financial mercantilism comes back to bite, and the strategic plan to be the Cayman Islands of Russia seems short-sighted.
Cypriots by character and necessity are resilient, though. Hopefully wherever this ends up will be a more healthy and sustainable situation for the people of this beautiful, spiritually rich place.
As far as the rest of Europe (and by extension the global economy) goes, I don’t think I’m alone in wondering if little Cyprus (GDP approximately equal to Vermont) is causing this much of a stir, just how fragile is the whole system?