File - A cat crosses a street at Nicosia's Green Line December 23, 2014. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
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Doubts over Greece's future membership of the euro are straining its historic kinship with Cyprus, as Nicosia distances itself from Athens to try to secure its foothold in the currency bloc.Cyprus wants to reverse a perception that the two countries are inextricably linked, worried that it could be dragged down with Greece, should Athens' finances collapse and force the Greeks to abandon the euro.The fate of Cyprus, a divided island on Europe's frontier with the Middle East, could prove an important test of the durability of the eurozone and the wider European Union in the face of political uncertainty in Greece.Unlike Greece, Cyprus has been largely diligent in implementing reforms required in return for an international bailout it received in 2013 .Cyprus has been divided since a brief coup in Nicosia triggered by colonels then ruling Greece prompted a Turkish invasion 40 years ago to protect Turkish Cypriots in the north of the island.After prospering for a few years in the EU, Cyprus ran into trouble because of its banks' exposure to the Greek debt crisis as well as a domestic property bubble.Cypriot authorities expect this to release roughly 500 million euros to buy government bonds, making it cheaper for the state and banks to borrow.
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