CYPRUS: Reactions from businesspeople on the ground

We've heard the politicians' take on the emergency bail-out. But what do the hard-working people of Cyprus make of plans to allow savers with over €100,000 in the bank take a severe haircut?

by Rebecca Burn-Callander

Christine Armstrong, MT's reporter on the ground, has talked to several local entrepreneurs over the weekend. Here's what's really going down on the streets of Cyprus:

Sarah, estate agent: 'This is all crazy. We need to go bankrupt and leave the euro and get a new currency. It can be jelly beans for all I care but they need to reevaluate our currency. We went into the euro way too high because of the Cypriot pound and it is costing us way, way too much. Its the only way people here will ever manage their debts. I know people here who haven't paid their mortgages in five years and no one has done anything about it. I can't imagine what will happen if they start cracking down.'

Marius, owns a gardening company: 'I grew up on a farm where we lived on what we had in our pockets. I can go back to that. But now the house opposite with three bedrooms and a pool is worth the same as the mortgage on my little flat, I've stopped paying the mortgage. It's too crazy. I've never missed a payment before but I'd feel like an idiot to pay it now'.

Andrea, manager of a spa at a hotel in Ayia Napa: 'This is the first winter we haven't opened and it is because of the crisis. So we are cleaning now and we start up on Monday. Everyone is worried the tourists will start cancelling. I hope they come. I hope those men in Nicosia make decisions that are good for tourism.'

Andy, maintenance man: 'For the first time in 35 years working, someone has refused to pay my bill because of his mortgage. What have his bills got to do with me? If he can't afford my work, he shouldn't ask me to me do it. I'm angry.'

Nicolas, kebab restaurant owner, 'We have to move on, the news alone is killing us. Our businesses depend on people wanting to come here.'

Natalie, restaurant manager: 'The problem is that everyone is panicking.  All our suppliers suddenly wanted cash on delivery. It has gone crazy. Everyone needs to calm down now. Then it will go back to normal and we can get on with business and it will be OK.  We are still really busy in here.'

Richard, dive shop owner: 'I don't know what to think. We depend on the tourists, if they don't come we'll have to go home to the UK. They need to sort things out properly but this lot never do and we are the outsiders here so we can't do anything but wait. I just hope they sort it out and avoid riots. The Foreign Office advice ['Bring euros and watch out for crime'] was pretty unhelpful. We could do without that.'

Alex, entrepreneur: 'Nothing good is going to come from the EU, the deal will just make things more difficult, we have to do a deal with Russia. It is the future, the EU is the past. I don't know what has happened in Moscow last week but someone needs to do a proper deal over there.'

Find out more about the Cyprus bail-out.

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