June 25 - Cyprus becomes the fifth country to seek financial assistance from the EU as confusion reigns in Greece after the chosen finance minister tells the prime minister he will not take up his post for health reasons. Sonia Legg reports.
One step forward, two steps back - at least that's the way it seems to many in Greece at the moment. Just days after finally selecting a new government the chosen Finance Minister is forced to step down before he's even sworn in. Vassilis Rapanos has been in hospital for several days after complaining of stomach pains and nausea. He sent a letter of resignation to the Prime Minister Antonis Samaras who has just left hospital after eye surgery at the weekend. Both ministers had already excused themselves from a crucial EU summit in Brussels at the end of the week at which they were expected to ask for a softening of the terms of an international bailout. The rest of government tried to get to work but the move added to fears that EU leaders may once again be unable to deliver the reforms many believe are essential to tackling the euro zone debt crisis. And there was another unwanted development too. Cyprus - Greece's island neighbour - has become the fifth euro zone country to seek financial assistance from the EU's rescue funds. It's applying for a bailout for its banking sector hit by exposure to the crisis in Greece. Tiny Cyprus needs to raise at least 1.8 billion euros - equivalent to about 10 percent of its domestic output - by the end of June to satisfy European regulators. If it signs up for the EU rescue programme it will join the ranks of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. Sonia Legg, Reuters.