Athens – Cyprus was the only one member country of the Eurozone, which suffered a bail-in upon a decision of the Eurogroup. What is the economic situation at this time? Is Cyprus coming out of the terrible economic crisis that she went through? What are the prospects for the next two years? Cyprus is also affected by the international developments in the region and the change of strategic balances as well as by the discovery of new gas deposits in the area. A huge gas deposit has been recently discovered by the Italian ENI in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Egypt, just nearby the EEZ of Cyprus. Cyprus, Egypt and Greece had a Trilateral Summit Meeting on the occasion of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. We do not forget also that a terrible war is going on in Syria, which is very near to Cyprus.
We asked for all those issues to have the opinion of one of the best Journalist of Cyprus, Yiannis Seitanidis, chief finance editor of the Cypriot daily newspaper “Poliitis”. The answers to our questions are very precise and objective and give us a very clear picture on what is going on now in Cyprus. “After three years of recession, Cyprus’ economy grew in the first half of this year, driven by stronger private demand and supported by the euro’s depreciation and low energy prices. Real GDP growth in 2015 is expected to reach 1,2%, while unemployment is forecast to ease somewhat. Growth is forecast to gather strength and reach 2,0% by 2017, while public finances should also improve”, he said and he continued saying : “The renewed weakness in energy prices and effects of the euro’s past depreciation could support consumption and exports more than expected. On the downside, the recent turmoil in main trading partners and the sanctions against Russia could weigh more on activity than forecast. In the financial sector, slow reduction of the high level of non-performing loans could lead to a more prolonged period of tight credit conditions, which would dampen the recovery over the forecast period. Generally, Cyprus is getting its economy back in shape. The labour market is improving, and job creation has resumed. Future reforms in Cyprus must target an increase in competition in the non-tradable sectors, cut bureaucracy, reform the public administration and the legal system. An even bigger issue looms in the banking sector – that of non-performing loans. This is a problem burdening many European banks, but it is particularly acute for Cyprus. The stock of impaired loans at banks across the euro area rose above 900 billion euros during the crisis. In Cyprus, it stands at €27 billion, or about 1,5 times GDP”.
In the margin of the UN Annual Conference, has taken place a three-part summit meeting of Cyprus, Greece, Egypt. What are the importance and the purpose of this meeting in your opinion?
First of all, this kind of meetings between the leaders of Cyprus, Greece and Egypt is not something new. Presidents Anastasiades and Al-Sisi and Prime Minister Tsipras had a meeting in Nicosia, early this year. These three countries have commons interests in Eastern Mediterranean and decided to do more, together, to promote these interests. I note the word “together”. In this context, the meeting in New York is something normal and that is very good. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to constantly work towards enhancing their tripartite consultation at all levels and to an enduring partnership and cooperation at the service of peace, stability and prosperity of the eastern Mediterranean,
The Wider Eastern Mediterranean is a place with a lot of tensions and a lot of problems (refugee crisis, the increased migratory flows, war in Syria, Libya is a ghost state, ISIS etc) and it is a very important development any initiative that brings together nations and promotes cooperation. I note that is also in place three part cooperation between Cyprus, Greece and Israel and the latest news is that Jordan asked to “copy” this model. Cyprus and Greece are member states of EU (Greece is a member of NATO) and these two countries have the ambition to become a bridge, a hub, cutting the distance between the Middle East and Europe.
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