|Thursday, 22 March 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-10-13
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 FOREIGN MINISTRY EU PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEYThe Republic of Cyprus support to Turkeys accession process is not a blank cheque and it depends on the complete and without concession implementation by Turkey of all the obligations it has undertaken towards the EU.
The position is underlined in a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to the publication on Wednesday of the European Commissions Progress Report on Turkey and the Strategy Paper of the Commission on Enlargement.
The Ministry describes the two documents as useful tools for evaluating Turkey at the Council of Ministers and the European Council of December, where the government of the Republic of Cyprus will carry out an in depth analysis and evaluation of the two documents in view of decisions that will be taken.
Regarding the contents of the documents, the Ministry describes as impartial and with special significance the view of the Commission that Turkey should intensify its commitment and contribute significantly to the talks for a solution to the Cyprus issue. However, it adds that the Commissions claim that Turkey reiterates its support to the talks, does not reflect reality, bearing in mind the statements of the Turkish Prime Minister during his illegal trip to the Turkish occupied north of Cyprus in July.
The Commission, said the statement, encourages the leaders of the two communities to make the necessary compromises for a successful conclusion of the talks. On this we repeat our irrevocable commitment to find a just and viable solution which will be based on UN resolutions and the principles on which the EU is based. We expect the same from (Turkish Cypriot leader) Dervis Eroglu and mainly Turkey.
Regarding the Commissions concern on the latest tension in the relations of Turkey with Cyprus, we believe that the EU should state its position in a clear manner as to the source of tension, which is Turkey, especially bearing in mind that Turkey is causing tension in the eastern Mediterranean and contrary to international law, it provocatively violates the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus.
The Ministry adds that the Commission has noted the statements of Turkish officials that they will freeze relations with the EU Council if there is no overall settlement to the Cyprus issue. Bearing in mind that these threats are directed towards all EU member states and its institutions and not only Cyprus, we expected a more substantial position from the EU. For this reason, the EU should make it clear to Turkey that it should not threaten the EU or its member states and at the same time want to become a full EU member. Therefore, the EU should exert more pressure on Turkey so that the latter fully harmonises its political behaviour to that of a candidate state. Otherwise Turkey cannot look forward to its accession, the ministry said.
The firm position of the Republic of Cyprus is that the EU-Turkey relations should continue to be based on a framework that Turkey is a candidate state and should aim to align its positions with those of the EU, based on the principles of the negotiating framework of 2005 between the EU-Turkey. The Republic of Cypruss support to Turkeys accession process is not a blank cheque and it depends on the complete and without concessions implementation by Turkey of all its obligations towards the EU, the Ministry concluded.
Turkish troops occupy Cyprus northern part since they invaded in 1974. Ankara does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.
Drilling in Cyprus EEZ has already begun and is being carried out by Houston-based Noble Energy, off Cyprus south-eastern coast.
Following Nicosia`s decision to begin drilling in its EEZ, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkeys moves, saying it has a sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, pointing out that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will benefit from any benefits that may come from oil drilling.
Cyprus has signed an agreement to delineate the Exclusive Economic Zone with Egypt and Israel with a view to exploit any possible natural gas and oil reserves in its EEZ. A similar agreement has been signed with Lebanon but the Lebanese Parliament has not yet ratified it.
The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President of the Republic Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu began UN - led negotiations aiming at reaching a solution of the Cyprus problem and reunifying the country under a federal roof.
The Republic of Cyprus, which joined the EU in May 2004, is assuming the EU Presidency for the first time. The 18-month EU Presidency began on July 1st with Poland, followed by Denmark the first half of 2012 and Cyprus from July-December 2012.
Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, is the only divided capital in Europe. Turkey is the only country in the world, which does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus and has said it will not talk to Nicosia, when it assumes the EU presidency.
 STATE BUDGET FINANCE MINISTERCypriot Minister of Finance Kikis Kazamias handed over the 2012 state budget to the President of the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The state budget aims at reducing budget deficit to 2.8% of GDP, below the Eurozone benchmark of 3%, while it features cuts in all sectors of state expenditure.
However, as the Finance Ministry notes, the achievement of the 2.8% target is under the condition of the approval of a government bill for a 2% increase to the Value Added Tax rate, currently at 15% submitted to the parliament, as well as an estimated 10% increase in state revenues, compared with 1% in 2011.
Amid adverse financial conditions, the Finance Ministry revised its earlier projections for a 1.5% growth to 0.2% in 2011, as well as a 2.8% budget deficit instead of 2.3%.
``The budget of the coming year obtains particular importance due to the difficult fiscal period,`` the Finance Ministry states in a press release, adding that the deficit is the main problem the Cypriot economy is facing today.
Public debt is projected to increase by 560 million euro in absolute numbers, reaching 12.48 billion euro or 66.6% of GDP, compared to 11.89 billion or 65.5% GDP. According to the Finance Ministry, the public debt will embark on a downward course by 2013 declining to 66.5% and to 65.7% in 2014.
 LABOUR MINISTER - CoE FORUMCyprus Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Sotiroula Charalambous has expressed the need for safeguarding social cohesion in the short and the long term.
Charalambous was speaking during a Council of Europe Forum for the Future of Democracy, entitled ``The Interdependence of Democracy and Social Cohesion: strengthening representation and democratic participation through public dialogue and civic engagement``, taking place today and Friday in the coastal town of Limassol.
In her opening statement at the introductory panel debate: ``Fighting the crisis without undermining social cohesion: can Europe meet the challenge?``, Minister stressed that the economic crisis is indeed a challenge to social cohesion and it is accompanied by other challenges that have been well identified in the Council of Europe High-Level Task Force Report``.
She said that the main challenges to social cohesion identified in the Report are globalization, demographic change, greater migration and cultural diversity, political changes and economic and social change.
Charalambous noted that social cohesion is a fundamental determinant of whether people will benefit from globalisation and changes and be protected from the risks associated with them.
The Forum is organized by the Council of Europe (CoE) in cooperation with the Ministries of Labour and Social Security and Foreign Affairs with participation of more than 200 delegates.
 LARNACA AIRPORT DELAYSThe flight programme of the Larnaka international airport faces delays of up to three hours due to the limited capability of the Greek authorities in serving flights within the Greek air space.
In statements to the press, Public Relations and Communications Manager of Hermes Airports, Adamos Aspris, said that the Greek authorities have notified the relevant authorities in Cyprus regarding their limited capability of serving flights within the Greek air space.
As a result, he said, there are delays in many flights at the Larnaka International Airport, from 30 minutes up to three hours, but stressed that all passengers affected should proceed to the airport on time.
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