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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-12-09

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] President: Cyprus EU Presidency will be European and objective
  • [02] European Council urges Ankara to respect EU Presidency
  • [03] Kazamias addresses House Finance Committee on measures
  • [04] Tourist arrivals increases in 2011

  • [01] President: Cyprus EU Presidency will be European and objective

    The Republic of Cyprus will hold a European and objective presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2012, President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias has stressed.

    In his intervention at the European Council which wrapped up Friday in Brussels, President Christofias underlined that the Cypriot presidency of the Council of the EU would be a ``European and objective one``.

    ``We will function as an objective and just mediator among the EU 27 as well as with countries with which the presidency has to contact to promote some issues on behalf of the Union``, he stressed.

    In statements to the press, he explained that ``I do not believe that there were any doubts about that among the EU 26. But I had been informed that there have been some rumors that Cyprus` presidency would be a subjective one``.

    In his intervention at the European Council, President Christofias referred to Cyprus` presidency as well as to Turkish threats that Ankara would freeze its relations with the EU when Cyprus assumes the presidency as well as to Turkey`s threats against Cyprus` sovereign rights to explore and exploit any hydrocarbon reserves in its Exclusive Economic Zone.

    President Christofias said that when he took the floor he condemned in a strong manner the recent behavior and threats of Turkey.

    ``The Council unanimously can not accept this behavior and notes and condemns Turkish the threats``, he pointed out.

    Replying to questions, President Christofias said that some countries warmly supported his positions, noting that ``we have had full support by the Council and this is important``. ``We have made clear that Turkey`s behavior, its occupation of Cyprus, etc is an insult to the EU and Cyprus``, he stressed and condemned recent statements made by the Turkish Prime Minister and the Turkish President.

    Referring to other issues discussed at the Council, he said that Cyprus fully supported the acceptance of Serbia as a candidate state for accession to the EU.

    As regards the economic decisions taken during the Council and whether those decisions undermine the European institutions, he expressed the view that on the contrary, the EU institutions are upgraded and their role is strengthened.

    Turkey, whose troops occupy Cyprus` northern part since they invaded in 1974, does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus. Following a decision by Nicosia to begin natural gas and oil exploration in its exclusive economic zone, Ankara has deployed warships in the Eastern Mediterranean and has signed an illegal agreement with the Turkish Cypriot regime in occupied Cyprus to delineate what it calls continental shelf.

    Drilling has already begun and is being carried out by Houston-based ``Noble Energy``, off Cyprus` south-eastern coast.

    The government of Cyprus has protested to the UN and the EU Turkey`s 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.

    The Republic of Cyprus will assume the six monthly rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2012.

    [02] European Council urges Ankara to respect EU Presidency

    The EU 27 heads of states and governments have urged Turkey to fully respect the role of the presidency of the Council of the EU, taking into consideration recent Turkish statements that Ankara would freeze its relations with the EU when Cyprus assumes the six monthly rotating presidency.

    In its final conclusions and under the paragraph ``Other items`` the European Council stresses that ``recalling the Council conclusions of 5 December on enlargement, with regard to Turkish statements and threats, the European Council expresses serious concern and calls for full respect of the role of the Presidency of the Council, which is a fundamental institutional feature of the EU provided for in the Treaty``.

    The European Council convened Thursday and Friday in Brussels. Cyprus was represented by President of the Republic Demetris Christofias.

    On the economic policy, the EC notes that structural reforms and fiscal consolidation efforts must continue to lay the ground for a return to sustainable growth and thus help improve confidence in the short run. Measures are also required to help restore normal lending to the economy whilst avoiding both excessive risk-taking and excessive deleveraging as agreed on 26 October 2011.

    [03] Kazamias addresses House Finance Committee on measures

    The voting of the state budget, the increase of VAT from 15% to 17% and aimed social benefits are the measures included in the first priority of the Government, Minister of Finance Kikis Kazamias said on Friday.

    Kazamias, who attended the meeting of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, which began discussing fiscal consolidation measures, said the VAT increase would come into effect on January 16, 2012, giving companies time to prepare their cash systems.

    He added that after the voting of the bill to freeze salaries in the public sector, the state would save 230 million euros annually.

    The bills on fiscal consolidation, approved by the Cabinet were tabled Thursday. The bills include, inter alia, a freeze of salaries in the public sector for two years, an increase of the tax rate on profits from 17% to 20%, a rise in the standard VAT rate from 15% to 17% and a social dialogue for a more just redistribution of Cost of Living Allowance (COLA).

    [04] Tourist arrivals increases in 2011

    Tourist arrivals has increased by over ten percent until October, with a relevant increase in revenue. Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Praxoulia Antoniadou, addressing the 29th General Assembly of the Pancyprian Hotel Managers Association said that tourist arrivals increased by 10.6 percent until October while revenue from tourist increased by 13.6% for the same period.

    She said that there are very good results from priority markets such as Russia, Germany and other Central Europe markets while Cyprus biggest market, that of the UK, has exhibited a stabilization.

    Noting that 2011 was a successful year for tourism, which supports the Cypriot economy during these difficult times, Antoniadou said that despite the global economic crisis, this positive picture will continue in 2012.

    Chairman of the hotel Managers association, Polis Kallis, said that 2011 was completed with remarkable results, yielding increases which can only satisfy the hotel industry. Prospects for 2012, he added, are encouraging, noting that reservations for next year have reached 47%.


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