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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-11-10
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 EUROPEAN COMMISSION - CYPRUS - ECONOMYCyprus is amongst a group of three Eurozone countries, along with Malta and Belgium, and two non-Eurozone members, Poland and Hungary, which European Commission Vice President for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn has called today to present specific measures to the European Commission by the end of December, in order to ensure their budget deficit reduction below 3% of GDP by 2012.
Rehn, who was speaking during todays presentation of the European Commissions autumn forecast for the period 2011-2013, referred to the five member states due to their excessive deficit and their obligation to bring it under 3%. While the deadline for some member states is the end of 2011, the period available for Cyprus is by the end of next year.
The Commission Vice President added that according to the European Commission predictions, a number of member states under the excessive deficit procedure are not addressing their deficit in a permanent and viable way. He also said that the five countries should make use of the time available in order to address their deficit, until the new economic governance comes into force.
Moreover, Rehn said he had already informed the Finance Ministers of the countries in question in the margins of the last Ecofin Council session, while he added that he would soon formulate the requirements in writing.
The European Commission requests that measures be adopted prior to December 15, because stricter EU regulations are expected to come into force after this date, regarding the member states economic governance, which also provide for financial penalties. Concerning the overall outlook, the European Commission autumn forecast draws a pessimistic picture concerning the EU economy, while it revises previous predictions on the Cypriot economy to the worse.
According to the country report, GDP growth was negatively affected in Cyprus, as a result of the explosion at the naval base in Mari and the destruction of the nearby Vassilikos power plant, last July, despite having an excellent tourist season in 2011. Thus, it predicts that growth in Cyprus will not exceed 0.3% in 2011, while further deterioration and zero growth are expected for 2012. The report says GDP in 2013 will grow by 1.8%.
The forecast also predicts a public deficit of 6.7% for this year and 4.9% for 2012, which again puts Cyprus behind its goal, unless new measures are undertaken.
Public debt is also expected to continue to increase during the next two years and the report says it will rise to 70.9% of GDP by the end of 2013.
It is further noted that little to zero growth is expected to harm employment, and therefore unemployment is expected to continue to rise in 2011 and 2012, while a small decrease is expected in 2013, reaching 7.1%.
The current account balance will decrease due to the slowdown in economic growth and the reduction of imports, while inflation is expected to recede from 3.4% this year to 2.3% in 2013.
Domestic demand is expected to shrink in 2011, due to tightening bank lending conditions coupled with a worsening labor market outlook. The same is also expected to happen with investments, due to weak foreign demand for housing and a restructuring of corporate balance sheets.
The report predicts a rise in exports of services, due to tourism and the political instability in competing markets. Following a period of stagnation in 2012, the report says economic activity is set to resume in 2013.
Indicators also point to a weakening of consumer and business confidence. Recovery is expected during the second half of 2012, alongside the improvement of the external environment, the start of the tourist season and the resumption of investment projects, and the reconstruction of the Vassilikos power plant in particular.
Moreover, the report on Cyprus notes that the risks associated with the financial markets reactions to developments in the Euro area, as well as adverse spillovers from Greece, in view of the large exposure of the financial sector are not negligible.
It adds however, that successful implementation of fiscal consolidation, the promising results of the gas exploration, and the continuation of turmoil in the Middle East may further strengthen Cyprus as a regional safe haven in tourism, trading and shipping.
Furthermore, the country report notes that the two main measures proposed by the government, concerning the targeting of social transfer and the increase of the VAT rate, have not been adopted yet. Thus, the report predicts a deficit of 4.9%, compared to the governments prediction of 2.8%, while a reduction to 4.7% is expected to happen further in 2013.
The debt to GDP ratio will remain on the rise and reach almost 71% of GDP by 2013, while the report notes that debt projections include the impact of guarantees to EFSF, bilateral loans to Greece and Cyprus participation in the capital of the ESM.
 FINÁÍCE MINISTER - RATING AGENCIESFinance Minister Kikis Kazamias has expressed discontent over the way a number credit rating agencies operate, creating concerns in markets and turning to become part of the problem.
Asked, after a meeting with President of the Republic Demetris Christofias, what is the situation of the economy, following the latest downgrading by Moodys of the long-term deposit and debt ratings of three Cypriot banks, Kazamias said that at present, the situation is under control.
He said there is however, concern as there are countries which have similar concerns and have a triple A rating.
Kazamias said that there is discontent of the way some credit rating agencies are operating, which makes them part of the problem.
He explained that these agencies make predictions without substantial background, causing investors concern. Then they try to verify their predications after causing apprehensions in the markets, he added.
 HOUSE - UDI - CONDEMNATIONThe House of Representatives condemned the declaration of the Turkish illegal regime in the occupied north of Cyprus and repeated the demand to revoke the illegality, with the hope that at last the international law will be implemented in the case of Cyprus.
The statement was made by President of the House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou, to mark the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) by the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the northern Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, on November 15, 1983 and Remembrance Day.
On Tuesday, 28 years will be completed since the declaration of the illegal regime in the Turkish occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, said Omirou, adding that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash went ahead with this illegal action disregarding international law and order and completely ignoring UN Security Council resolutions and the pleas of the international community. The declaration of the illegal regime was never internationally recognized, and depicts a sound confirmation of the divisive plans of Turkey against Cyprus, he added.
Omirou said the House of Representatives once again notes that it insists on a fair, functional and viable solution to the Cyprus issue, which will end the illegality, occupation and settlement and will restore and secure the rights of Cyprus and its people, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins.
 EURO-MEDITERRANEAN CENTRE -BOUTROS GHALIA Euro-Mediterranean Centre for the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the Mediterranean region will be established in Limassol on the initiative of the former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who was received today by President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.
In statements at the Presidential Palace following the meeting, Ghali told the Press that with President Christofias they discussed the creation of a (Euro Mediterranean) Centre which will hopefully assist the young generation in the preparation of arbitration, mediation, peaceful solution of disputes.
He also expressed the belief that the geopolitical position of Cyprus will help us to play a role.
In conclusion, he said that the choice of Cyprus (as the base of the Centre) will be important not only for Cyprus but for the community in this part of the world.
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