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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-10-13

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] STATE BUDGET - FINANCE MINISTER
  • [02] FOREIGN MINISTRY - EU PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY

  • [01] STATE BUDGET - FINANCE MINISTER

    Cypriot Minister of Finance Kikis Kazamias handed over the 2012 state budget to the President of the House of Representatives.

    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.

    Revenues, excluding loans, are estimated at 6.22 billion compared to 5.64 billion in 2011, whereas expenditure, excluding loans, are estimated at 7.536 down by 6% compared with 8.01 billion of 2011.

    State revenues as a percentage of GDP are expected to reach 32.9% compared with 31.1% in 2011.

    The rise in revenues is attributed mainly in taxation income (both direct and indirect taxes), estimated at 5.46 billion, marking a 10.9% increase or 28.3% GDP.

    According to the Ministry, this increase is due to state income from marginal economic growth as well as the tax increases approved by the Parliament on August 26.

    On the other hand, expenditure are reduced due to cuts across the scale.

    Public sector wages, the highest state expenditure, are estimated at 2.82 billion, marking a 3% rise compared to 2.74 billion in 2011. According to the Ministry, state wages increase only by 0.9% due to the abolition of vacant job positions, while if the non-payment of Cost of Living Allowance for the first half of 2012 is taken into account state salaries record a reduction of 1.6%.

    Social transfers decline by 10.6% reaching 2.25 billion euro compared with 2.52 billion in 2011, mainly due to the targeting of social benefits which are now limited to 1.11 billion euro, compared with 1.30 billion in 2011, recording a reduction of 14.7%.

    Operational expenditures mark a 10.9% reaching 1.13 billion compared with 1.27 billion in 2011.

    Development expenditure decline by 19% reaching 972.5 million compared with 1.20 billion in 2011, as big development projects have been completed or are expected to complete within 2011.

    Unemployment is expected to deteriorate further reaching 7.5% in 2012 from 7.3% in 2011, given that the slow economic growth, while inflation is projected to decline to 3.0% in 2012 from 3.5% estimated for 2011.

    [02] FOREIGN MINISTRY - EU PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY

    The 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.


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