Cyprus began its 1st EU rotating Presidency on Sunday only days after it formally requested European financial aid. As the 5th eurozone country to ask for a bailout, Cyprus banks are hugely exposed to the Greek crisis.
Cypriot officials said on Monday that the bailout request will not affect their management of Europe’s agenda.
As Cyprus holds talks with Brussels, it might also seek help elsewhere. Nicosia held discussions with Russia to get a bilateral loan of up to 6 billion euros. Already in 2011, Russia lent the Cypriot government over 2 billions euros.
Amongst its priorities for the 6 month presidency, Cyprus hopes to push forward dialog on the next 6 year EU budget. They want to table a draft budget proposal at a summit in October.
Relations with Turkey will be the biggest challenge for Cyprus. The island has been fractioned since Turkey’s invasion almost 40 years ago. They now control the northern part of the island.
While Turkey holds EU candidate status, it still does not recognize the government in Nicosia. Ankara warned that it would boycott the Cyprus presidency if no agreement was reached on the reunification talks.