Eurozone minister says Cyprus cash grab unique

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said savings accounts in the eurozone are safe, adding that Cyprus is a special case and not a template for future rescues.

In an interview with Bild newspaper published Saturday, Schaeuble distanced himself from comments on Monday by Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who said the rescue program agreed for Cyprus, the first to impose a levy on bank deposits, would serve as a model for future crises.

“Cyprus is and will remain a special one-off case,” Schaeuble said. “The savings accounts in Europe are safe.”

Schaeuble said the problem in Cyprus was that two large banks in Cyprus were in effect no longer solvent and the Cyprus government did not have enough money to guarantee savings.

“That’s why the other eurozone countries had to help,” he said. “Together in the Eurogroup we decided to have the owners and creditors take part in the costs of the rescue, in other words those who helped cause the crisis.”

Schaeuble said he was confident Cyprus would be able to completely pay back the help. “Cyprus’s economy will now go through a long and painful period of adjustment. But then it will pay back the loan when it is on a solid economic foundation,” he said.

Schaeuble said the euro was stronger today than at any time since 2010.

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