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EU could be asked for more money to help Cyprus, says Jose Manuel Barroso
The European Commission has said that member states could be asked to provide additional help for newly bailed-out Cyprus, whose economy is set for a dramatic and painful downsizing.

Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said, however, that an immediate increase in EU funding - that is, separate from its bailout aid - was not possible and Cyprus would have to approach its EU peers first.

"While I understand the thinking behind such a suggestion, this is an issue that must be taken up first and foremost with the other member states since the amounts foreseen [in the EU 2014-20 budget] ... were fully allocated," Mr Barroso said in a letter to Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, who had asked for help.

"Unfortunately no unallocated margin was left," Mr Barroso said of the 2014-20 period.

Cyprus is slated to receive €945m from the EU budget over this time, to help it build infrastructure projects and boost rural development.

Mr Barroso confirmed in the letter that, as was the case with bailed-out Greece, he would "explore ... the possibility of front-loading future [budgetary] assistance for Cyprus", once Nicosia details investment plans aimed at supporting growth.

A special Commission team will be established to run this, as with Greece, and Barroso stressed that once a "needs assessment" has been agreed, "I do not exclude seeking additional support from the budgetary authority".

A review of so-called EU cohesion spending - grants aimed at helping newer members catch up with their more developed peers - is slated for 2016.

Eurozone finance ministers formally approved on Friday new terms for a chaotic Cyprus debt rescue that will cost Nicosia far more than first thought - €23bn rather than €17bn. Its eurozone partners and the International Monetary Fund will provide €10bn of this amount while the government will have to find the remainder.

The debt rescue involves a radical restructuring of Cyprus's bloated banking sector, with an economy heavily dependent on financial services now expected to shrink by up to 12.5pc over the next two years.

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