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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-08-10

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>


CONTENTS

  • [01] EIB DELEGATION EAC - CYPRUS
  • [02] SPOKESMAN MEASURES ECONOMY

  • [01] EIB DELEGATION EAC - CYPRUS

    A three-member delegation from the European Investment Bank is currently holding talks in Cyprus to examine the repercussions of the destruction of the Vasiliko power plant.

    According to Acting Spokesman for the Electricity Authority Ioannis Tsouloftas, the delegation had a meeting with the Director General of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus, and this afternoon it will visit the islands main power plant, Vasiliko.

    Tomorrow, the delegation will confer with EAC officials, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, as well as the Ministry of Finance, to discuss the damage caused to Vasiliko and the impact on the natural gas project.

    On Thursday, the EIB delegation will examine issues concerning the EACs economic forecast for 2011-2015, following the Vasiliko damage, and the financial needs of the Authority.

    Thirteen people were killed and dozens were injured when a massive explosion occurred at the naval base, Evangelos Florakis, near Limassol, on the southern coast, in the early hours of July 11th. The blast badly damaged the islands main power plant, at Vasiliko, resulting in daily power cuts.

    The blast occurred in containers, full of munitions, which Cyprus had confiscated from ``Monchegorsk``, a vessel sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009. Nicosia was acting in accordance with UN sanctions against Teheran.

    A one-man investigation commission, set up by the government, is already examining the circumstances that have led to the massive explosion.

    [02] SPOKESMAN MEASURES ECONOMY

    The government and the main trade unions have agreed on a package of austerity measures aimed at fiscal consolidation.

    Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou has sent a message to all parliamentary parties to be constructive during the voting in the House of Representatives on the package.

    Speaking on Tuesday evening after President Demetris Christofias and the trade unions had agreed on the package, Stephanou said the agreement contained substantive structural changes for fiscal consolidation, including the gradual abolition of vocational retirement schemes in the public and the broader public sector, and the immediate inclusion of new staff in the Social Insurance Fund, so that ``everyone has a single pension fund and receives a pension based on the same criteria.``

    He added that the package includes measures that would give the state an immediate increase in revenue and reduce expenditure.

    According to the agreement, public servants will contribute, for the next three years, 3% annually to the state coffers, and will reassess the situation in the future. There will also be a reduction of 10% in the salaries of newcomers in the public sector.

    Stephanou furthermore noted that the Council of Ministers would be convening on Wednesday to finalise the package of measures and send the proposed legislation to the House of Representatives for approval.

    He said the Minister of Finance would be analysing the cost of the package and its prospects at the House Committee on Finance, which meets today.

    The Spokesman said the economy issue was very serious and that the package could address the immediate challenges and pave the way for major structural changes, in order to secure the robustness and vitality of the economy.

    He added that the Government would continue the dialogue for additional measures concerning the situation caused by the deadly explosion at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base, the shockwave of which destroyed the island`s main power plant.


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