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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-11-18

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cypriot Finance Minister Kikis Kazamias presented a new set of fiscal consolidation measures which would enable Cyprus to regain access in international markets and to achieve its fiscal targets.

    The measures include the freezing of salary increases in the public sector for the next two years amounting to savings of 255 million euro (125 million 2012 and 230 in 2013), a levy for private sector employees earning above 2.500 euro, as well as a 5% levy on the turnover of Cypriot firms for the next two years.

    The government intents to reach agreement with the trade unions over the freezing of the salary increases, as well as the approval of the 2012 state budget which incorporates additional measures by 15 December to meet the deadline set by the EU for Cyprus to take measures which would bring its public finances on track.

    Cyprus`s current budget deficit is 6.7% GDP, whereas the government aims at reducing the fiscal shortfall in 2012 will decline to 2.8% of GDP, as opposed to the Commission`s forecast for 4.9% deficit. Cyprus 2012 growth rate is projected at zero by the Commission against a 0.2% growth projected by the Finance Ministry.

    In August the Parliament approved the first fiscal consolidation package, including a scaled contribution for civil servants with salaries over 1.500 euro, a 3% contribution to the public sector social fund, creation of an additional taxation scale of 35% for persons with an income of 60,000 euros or more and increasing the immovable property tax, as well an increase of the tax on dividends from 15 to 17% and a 5.0 per cent increase of tax on interest from deposits to 15%.

    Kazamias also called the Association of Commercial Banks and the Bank`s trade union to follow suit and implement effective cuts in their operating costs.

    ``This cannot continue any more. We are obliged to take decisions of structural nature, to improve the image of the Cypriot economy which would enable us to hope for a better future,`` he said.

    He added ``we must realize that whether we like it or not, have obligations by the EU and the strict obligation pending for two years is that Cyprus by 2012 should convince with the preparation of the stability programme for the next three years that it would reach a zero deficit by 2014,`` he said, recalling if Cyprus does not consolidates its public finances it would be imposed to a fine of 0.2% GPD, that is 26 million euro.

    Given the slow economic growth and the Cypriot banking sector`s exposure to Greek sovereign debt, which in turn triggered a series of downgrades by rating agencies, Cypriot authorities are reluctant to tap international markets to refinance its maturing debt, as yields on Cypriot bonds on secondary markets have surged in recent months.


    The new Greek National Defence Minister Demetris Avramopoulos has sent messages of security to the people of Cyprus and of cooperation and understanding to Turkey. The economic crisis in Greece has not undermined the defence system of Greece, which it constitutes a guarantee for Cyprus and its people, Avramopoulos stressed.

    Demetris Avramopoulos, who is paying an official visit to Cyprus, was received by Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.Speaking after the meeting, held in the Presidential Palace, Avramopoulos said that his presence in Cyprus is essential because it has deepened the relations between the Defence Ministries of Greece and Cyprus.

    In addition, his visit signifies the Greek presence in Cyprus and symbolizes the updating of the meanings of unity and solidarity between the two countries.

    He noted that his presence here coincides with a crucial turning-point of the course of the Cyprus issue, which is a priority in the foreign policy of Greece. The moments are crucial and it seems to be facing a change in the course (of the Cyprus problem), mainly because of a change in the Turkish sides stance, he pointed out.


    Preparations for the Cyprus Presidency of the European Council during the second term of 2012 are on the right path, Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou Marcoullis has said. The Minister added however that all relevant authorities must proceed with a quick pace in order to meet the demanding task of the Presidency. Andreas Mavroyiannis, Deputy Minister to the President for European Affairs, noted from his part that there is no room for complacency, since a lot of work remains ahead.

    A meeting of the broader Ministerial Commission tasked with preparations for the Cyprus EU Presidency was held this afternoon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Nicosia, with the participation of all Ministers, the Government Spokesman, the Deputy Minister for European Affairs and other government officials.

    The meeting, chaired by Marcoullis, lasted for about two hours and, according to statements after the session, its task was to review the number of meetings to be held during the Presidency term in Cyprus, in light of additional proposed meetings by the Ministries.

    As Marcoullis noted, a list of 21-22 additional meetings have been approved, from a total of 24 proposals, and will be forwarded to the Cabinet, which will review the final number of meetings to take place during the Cyprus EU Presidency in the next two weeks.


    Financial accounts of the General Government show a surplus of 86.5 million euro in the third quarter of 2011, compared to a deficit of 105.7 million euro in the corresponding period in 2010. Revenue recorded an increase of 8.3%, while expenditure fell by 2.1%.

    Based on the preliminary data on the General Government accounts for the period July-September 2011, compiled in accordance to EU concepts and definitions, the total revenue amounted to 1.978,4 mn (8,3% increase compared to the corresponding period of 2010).

    According to data of the Cyprus Statistical Service, total expenditure reached 1.891,9 mn (2,1% decrease), resulting to a surplus of 86,5 mn as compared to 105,7 mn deficit in the corresponding period of the previous year.

    The main categories of revenue for the period July-September 2011 were: taxes on production and imports 671,9 mn (0,3% decrease), of which VAT was 397,2 mn (0,9% decrease), and taxes on income and wealth 707,7 mn (23,8% increase).

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