NICOSIA, Cyprus — Leaders in Cyprus, Brussels and elsewhere in Europe scrambled Monday to contain the fallout from the eurozone’s decision over the weekend to force ordinary bank depositors to share the pain of an international bailout.
Much of the day was given over to cross-border finger pointing and a public reluctance for anyone to take responsibility — some might say blame — for a decision that some analysts worry could cause a run on banks in Cyprus, and possibly in Italy and other troubled eurozone countries. Cyprus, whose banking system is on the verge of collapse, is now the fifth nation among the 17 members of the euro to seek financial assistance since the crisis broke out three years ago.
Members of the Eurogroup, the club of eurozone finance ministers, were holding a conference call Monday evening to talk things through once more.
As announced on Saturday, depositors in Cypriot banks with balances of more than 100,000 euros ($129,500) would have to pay a one-time tax of 9.9 percent on their holdings. Those with balances below that threshold would pay 6.75 percent.
The Cypriot president, Nicos Anastasiades, was trying to compel policymakers in Brussels to soften the terms of the deal, saying EU leaders used “blackmail" to get him to agree to penalize depositors in order to receive a bailout package worth 10 billion euros.