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Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras insisted on Tuesday that a bailout deal agreed for Cyprus only applied to the island country, after comments by the chief eurozone finance minister led markets to speculate that it could serve as a template for other struggling members.
"This solution concerns Cyprus only and no other country, because Cyprus has a particular banking system," Stournaras told journalists following a meeting with Greek President Carolos Papoulias.
"The eurozone is not insecure," he emphasised.
While major European stock exchanges showed modest gains on Tuesday after comments by Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem sparked heavy selling a day earlier, the Athex index in Athens plummeted and closed with a 4.9 percent drop.
Stournaras was fielding journalists' questions about comments that Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch finance minister, made to the Financial Times and Reuters.
"Taking away the risk from the financial sector and taking it on to the public shoulders is not the right approach," Dijsselbloem said hours after the Cyprus deal was reached.
"If we want to have a healthy, sound financial sector, the only way is to say, 'Look, there were you take the risks, you must deal with them, and if you can't deal with them, then you shouldn't have taken them on... The consequences may be that it's the end of story," he added.
The comments caused financial markets to plummet, with analysts believing the Eurogroup chief meant the Cyprus bank rescue plan could be used as a template for other countries.
Dijsselbloem later clarified that he felt Cyprus was an exceptional case because of its oversized banking sector, and most major stock markets rebounded a bit on Tuesday, though analysts suggested that additional damage had been done.
During his meeting with president Papoulias, the Greek finance minister said that off-shore companies, which exist in abundance in Cyprus, "create problems in countries that have to lower their tax rates in order to compete against countries considered as off-shore centres."
"These practises have to be eliminated if we want Europe to prosper," Stournaras said during their meeting, part of which was shown on state broadcaster NET.
Following marathon talks over the weekend, Cyprus agreed to a deal that would pave the way for emergency loans of up to 10 billion euros ($13 billion) from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
The terms includes a drastic downsizing of Cyprus' financial sector, a break-up of its second largest bank, and heavy, as yet undetermined levies on those with more than 100,000 euros in deposits, many of whom are Russian.