NICOSIA, Cyprus — There were long lines of anxious people but no sign of trouble as banks in Cyprus opened Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks, after an international bailout that sought to prevent the country from financial ruin.
The government has imposed a daily limit on how much people can withdraw to stop a run on its banks — the first such action in the 14-year history of the euro currency. Cypriots took the measure in their stride, aware that with their economy teetering on the edge of collapse, any undue panic would make the situation worse.
“Everything has been paralyzed. Besides my business being already low, now no one thinks of buying flowers,” said flower shop owner Christos Papamichael who was among about 30 people waiting patiently for bank doors to open.
The limits on transactions, have been imposed initially for seven days and are being reviewed daily. According to Central Bank assessments, the restrictions are to be fully lifted in a month, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said.
President Nicos Anastasiades expressed his “warm gratitude and deep appreciation towards the Cypriot people for the maturity and spirit of responsibility they have shown at a critical time for the stability of the Cypriot economy,” a statement from his office said.
A deal was finally reached in Brussels with other euro countries and the International Monetary Fund early Monday. The country’s second-largest bank, Laiki, is to be split up, with its healthy assets being absorbed into the Bank of Cyprus.