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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 08-01-09

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus has received praises from the European Union for the smooth changeover of its currency, from the pound to the euro, which has become the Republics legal tender since 1st January.

    Finance Minister Michalis Sarris has said that European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia contacted him today, expressing his satisfaction over the transition from the pound to the euro.

    According to Sarris, Almunia said that ``EU services have confirmed that the transition to the euro in Cyprus was very smooth both in relation to absolute numbers and in relation to other countries.``

    The Cypriot Finance Minister also said that Almunia conveyed to him ``his particular satisfaction for the way with which Cypriots welcomed the euro, the ease with which the euro succeeded the Cyprus pound and the fact that the rounding of prices has been averted to a large extent.``

    One Cyprus pounds corresponds to 1.71 euro.


    Cyprus Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by 4.6% in the third quarter of 2007, according to the second estimates released by Eurostat. These figures surpass earlier Eurostat forecasts released in November for a 4.3% GDP growth.

    According to Eurostat, Euro area GDP in the third quarter of 2007, as compared with the corresponding period in 2006, grew by 2.7% in the Euro area and by 3.0% in the EU 27. On a quarterly basis, the GDP in the Euro area grew by 0.7% and by 0.8% in the EU27. Cyprus` GDP growth on a quarterly basis was 1.2%.

    The biggest GDP growth in relation with the third quarter of 2006 in the Euro area belongs to Slovenia, which recorded a 6.3% GDP growth, followed by the Netherlands with 4.2%. In the EU 27 the biggest GDP growths were recorded in Lithuania with 11.6%, Latvia with 10.9% and Slovakia with 9.4%.


    The government and three major trade unions have come to an initial agreement on the terms for the renewal of their collective agreements for the period 2007-2009, which provide for salary increases for civil servants and employees of semi-governmental organisations. The initial agreement will be put before the three trade unions (SEK, PEO and PASYDY) for final approval.

    Employees of semi-governmental organisations and civil servants will be receiving 2% salary raises in 2008 and 1.5% in 2009, after an agreement reached on Wednesday between the Ministry of Finance and the trade unions. The agreement, which covers the years 2007 to 2009, furthermore provides for 0.3% increases in pertinent benefits for 2007.

    Speaking after a meeting with the trade unions, Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris said the agreement was ``fair`` and would maintain the balance between inflation and public finances. All three trade unions have also described the agreement as fair.


    Cyprus and the Security Council`s two meetings for the renewal of UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate, from the 15 June to 15 December 2007 and from 15 December 2007 until 15 June 2008, are included in a 2007 Security Council round-up.

    ``The Council held two meetings to extend the mandate of the 43-year-old United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) by adopting resolutions 1758 (2007) and 1789 (2007),`` a press release issued by the Security Council on January 4 says.

    The press release also recalls that ``in the first of the two texts, the Council noted with concern the lack of progress on the 8 July 2006 Agreement -- a set of principles and decisions signed by the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders, which recognized the status quo as unacceptable and a comprehensive settlement as both desirable and possible.``

    ``The two sides had agreed to immediately begin a two-track process involving technical discussions of issues affecting the day-to-day life of the Cypriot people and, concurrently, consideration by working groups of substantive issues, leading to a comprehensive settlement,`` it adds, noting that the first draft resolution reaffirmed that talks on a final political solution to the Cyprus problem had been at an impasse for too long.``

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