There is growing resistance in Europe to the planned aid program for Cyprus, because it would also benefit illegal Russian money parked in bank accounts in Cyprus. The government in Nicosia is willing to make concessions, but Brussels is demanding more reforms.

It was a long way to go to deliver a short message. German Chancellor Angela Merkel flew almost four hours last Friday to Cyprus, where she spent a few minutes campaigning for the conservative presidential candidate in the February 17 election, Nikos Anastasiades. Speaking in the city of Limassol, Merkel praised Anastasiades, saying that she had known him for a long time and valued his openness to change, and that the country urgently needed "structural reforms."