Cypriots in Cheltenham angry at bailout plans for home country
CYPRIOTS in Cheltenham have condemned the bailout plan for their home country.
A vote in Cyprus' parliament on a European Union bailout plan has been delayed until today, after the proposals sparked public anger.
As part of the 10 billion euros bailout plan agreed by the EU and International Monetary Fund, all bank customers in Cyprus would have to pay a one-off levy.
And customers with less than 100,000 euros in Cypriot bank accounts would have to pay out 6.75 per cent of their savings.
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The move has led to widespread anger in the country.
The Very Reverend Father Anthimos Papandreou, the priest-in-charge of the Greek Orthodox church of St John St John Chryosostom in Bentham, near Cheltenham, is a proud Cypriot.
He grew up Cyprus, before moving to England when he was 18 years old to study.
The priest, now 78, said he was appalled at the decision forced onto the people in Cyprus.
He added: "What has happened here is not done by the Cypriots themselves. It is not good news for the people of the country. It is a European Union scheme, something not set by our government.
"It is very bad for the people. It is the European Union that want the tax.
"I've been in the UK for 60 years, and I was pro European Union and the common market, but it is supposed to be based on democracy and they are doing something different."
Chris Anthone, 33, from Battledown, is a Cypriot who grew up in Cheltenham.
He said: "It's anything up to 10 per cent, which is quite a big amount, but if that's what it takes for the country to be economically viable again, then I don't think they will have taken the decision too lightly.
"I'm very proud of my heritage, and it's a shame to see the county not doing quite too well at the moment.
"Not many people had heard of it years ago, but it is now quite a popular destination.
"It's sad to see it like that."
The debate and vote in parliament in Cyprus is set to go ahead at 4pm today, after it was initially set for Sunday.