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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-07-09

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus Government and leaders of the parliamentary parties agreed Friday in a broad meeting for the economy under President Christofias, on the need to take direct measures to strengthen public finances.

    During the meeting there was a wide consensus for a package of direct economic measures to be brought before the Parliament for voting within three weeks, after consultation with the social partners.

    The package includes the majority of government proposals on pensions, as well as measures to increase public revenues and structural measures.

    They also agreed on the need for medium and long term measures which will be discussed during a new meeting next Monday, between the parties and the Government.

    Speaking after the meeting Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that there was a broad field of common understanding and consensus on forming a joint package of direct economic measures to be discussed with the social partners.

    He added that there was willingness from both the Government and the parties for the assumption of a joint responsibility for the promotion of the measures.

    Stephanou pointed out that the Government submitted a package of economic measures, adding that this is not a closed package and that through discussion with the parties, the Government is prepared to introduce and enhance the package during Mondays meeting.

    ``From todays meeting I keep the climate of consensus and common understanding that has prevailed, which is very important in order to address the various problems that have to be solved, concerning the streamlining and rationalizing of our economy,`` he said.

    The Government has proposed a three-year programme for the reduction of the budget deficit. The programme aims at the containment of public expenditure, with the abolishment of semi-governmental organizations that have fulfilled their life cycle and the abolishment of vacant job positions in the civil service that are not considered as necessary.

    The programme also includes the reduction of the civil service employees, with the adoption of a policy providing for only one employment for every four retirements, aiming at reducing the number of civil servants by 5,000 within the next five years, as well as the notion of interchangeability in the civil service.

    The government also proposed the reduction of the salaries of the newly employed in the civil service, as well for the commencement of the dialogue for the fairer distribution of the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

    With regard to the pension system, the measures include the inclusion of newly employed civil servants in the Social Security pension fund instead of the Government Employees pension scheme, as well as the calculation of the retirement benefit and the pension according to the average of the salaries of the last thirty months instead of the final salary.

    The proposed measures on the pension scheme also include a civil servants contribution to the pension scheme, the readjustment of the contribution rate to the fund for widows and orphans, as well the abolition of the pensions` automatic adjustment for employees who benefit from general increase to the civil servants salaries.

    In relation to the measures for the increase of public revenues, the package includes the completion of the discussion of the bills pending for the tackling of tax-evasion, the review of a tax on real estate for the next three years, the introduction of a levy for all registered companies and the introduction of a tax levy on the benefits from the town planning zone changes for commercial development.


    The United States continues to support the negotiations taking place under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-Generals Good Offices Mission, a State Department official has said.

    Asked about the U.S. governments response to the meeting in Geneva between the two leaders in Cyprus and the UNSG, the American official said that the United States continues to support the negotiations taking place under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-Generals Good Offices Mission to reach a settlement reunifying the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

    We support and appreciate UNSG Bans personal engagement. We hope for intensified momentum and engagement in the talks to produce the significant progress.``, he concluded.


    Cyprus is an example of flagrant violations on behalf of Turkey of the fundamental human rights of the Cypriot people, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, Cypriot MP Sophoklis Fittis said speaking during the deliberations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade.

    Fittis said that Greek-Cypriots cannot, for 37 years now, return to their homes in the Turkish occupied areas, or enjoy their properties, while the occupied areas have been overwhelmed by illegal settlers from Turkey.

    He added that the demographic change in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus is promoted systematically by Turkey since 1974, an action which falls outside the international law and the 4th Convention of Geneva.


    A nine -member team of Cypriot doctors, health workers and friends of the Diocese of Constantia and Ammochostos carried out between June 24 - July 4 its first humanitarian mission to Madagascar, where it provided medical care to the people of the island.

    According to a press release, the medical team provided various health services in the city of Ambatondrazaka, in the north east of Madagascar and in remote villages operating a mobile clinic.

    The team provided medical services to one thousand patients regardless of race, or religion who did not have direct access to a medical center to meet their critical health needs, the press release says.

    This is the first Cypriot medical mission of the team of health workers and friends of Diocese of Constantia and Ammochostos which was under the supervision of Bishop of Madagascar Ignatius.

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