By Alanna Petroff and Jo Shelley @CNNMoneyApril 2, 2013: 5:42 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
Cypriot finance minister Michael Sarris resigned Tuesday, just as the country finalized a 10 billion euro bailout to stave off a disorderly banking collapse.
Last-minute changes to the bailout agreement give the country more breathing room when it comes to reaching its fiscal targets, such as reducing deficits. Cyprus will now have five years instead of three years to meet its financial objectives.
Conditions of the bailout were also altered to ensure 170,000 Cypriots have access to health care, which would not have occurred under earlier provisions.
Government spokesman Christos Stylianides acknowledged that the agreement "should have taken place a lot sooner, under more favorable political and financial circumstances." But he noted that the situation in Cyprus is now "normalizing," paving the way for the economy to get back on solid footing.
The tiny island nation was brought to the brink of financial collapse and faced a possible exit from the eurozone after its two biggest banks -- Bank of Cyprus and Popular Bank -- took big losses on Greek government debt, wiping out a third of their combined capital.