Until now it was felt that however bad the crisis in the euro area became, governments would move heaven and earth to protect ordinary bank depositors.
Over the weekend that Rubicon was crossed, as policymakers imposed an immediate tax on all deposits held in Cyprus, as part of a rescue package for the island’s failing economy.
This brutal decision by euroland finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund threatened a run on the whole financial system as depositors rushed to try to get their money out.
And the reverberations could reach beyond further Cyprus to hard-pressed euroland countries including Italy and Spain.
Terrified savers, who until now felt protected by the 100,000 euros guarantee for deposits, must now be wondering if they are next.
As a result of the decision by euroland leaders to transfer supervision of the banking system from national governments to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt they will claim they now have all the legal authority they need to interfere directly in the banks of the 17 countries that are part of the eurozone.