|Thursday, 14 December 2017|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 11-12-11
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 President calls for joint effort on the economyThe President of the Republic has appealed to the political leadership and the social partners to show self restraint and to join their efforts to help the economy recover, pointing out that the recent agreement on austerity measures between the government and parliamentary parties is a positive sign.
Economic recovery needs political stability and calm and approval of the proposed 2012 state budget is a decisive step in this direction, President Demetris Christofias has said, addressing a party congress of the United Democrats, a government coalition party.
The Presidents remarks come a day before the House begins a three-day debate on the state budget.
He said that the state has been deprived of significant revenue amounting to 345 million euro annually because the House had not approved government bills on austerity measures.
The President explained that the local economy is not isolated from developments in either Europe or worldwide in financial terms.
Unfortunately the global financial crisis is deepening, with unexpected results and reversals in a globalised environment where what happens in one country has a fallout on another, he pointed out, adding that the exposure of the local banks to Greece is such a case.
The government, he said, lays special emphasis in containing unemployment, adding that a rise in unemployment is our biggest problem.
He said as part of austerity measures the government has adopted, the number of public servants has dropped, state expenditure has been reduced by 240 m. euro, unemployment benefit for retired civil servants for six months has been abolished and tax evasion has been curtailed through legislation.
The President said that the government has allocated 450 m. in support of the basic sectors of the economy, such as tourism, manufacturing and middle size businesses, in addition to adopting measures to strengthen the fluidity of the Cypriot banks.
Amid the continuing financial crisis and the weak growth of the Cypriot economy, projected at a mere 0.2% GDP in 2012, the government has introduced a series of austerity measures that would enable Cyprus to meet its medium term commitments to the EU and particularly for a budget deficit of 2.8 GDP in 2012 and a zero deficit by 2014.
On August 27 the Parliament approved the first fiscal consolidation package with a fiscal impact of 1% GDP or 180 million EUR, while a bill for the increase of VAT rate to 17% from 15%, which would yield an additional 140 million euro to the state coffers, is pending for approval.
The Cabinet also approved a second fiscal consolidation package, incorporated in the 2012 state budget, which would reduce the budget deficit below the 3 per cent Euro area benchmark (2.8%) in 2012. The package provides for the abolition of 939 vacant positions in the public sector, a 10% reduction of the starting salary of civil servants, the introduction of income criteria for the better targeting of welfare spending such as child allowance and student allowance (100 million EUR).
On November 18 the Finance Minister introduced a third fiscal consolidation package aiming at restoring Cyprus` credibility in the international markets. The package provides for a freeze of salary increases in the public sector (including COLA) for two years, with a yield of 355 million EUR, a scaled contribution of high earners in the private sector and the introduction of a 0.5% levy on the turnover of companies with local activities for two years.
According to the EU` new economic governance provisions, Cyprus must take concrete steps for the correction of its public finances. Otherwise a fine of 0.2% GDP will be imposed.
 Cyprus protests British stance at UNThe government has protested Britains stance during consultations at the UN Security Council on a draft resolution for the renewal of the mandate of the UN peace keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). The President (Demetris Christofias) has made representations to British Prime Minister David Cameron with regard to his governments position during the consultations on UNFICYP, at the Security Council, Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said here today, noting that the demarches were made in Brussels on the sidelines of the European Council.
The Spokesman recalled that Nicosia and London have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which provides for dialogue and consultation on issues of mutual interest. Britain cannot promote a position that is contrary to the view of the UN SG. London maintains that an international conference on Cyprus can take place even before there is agreement on the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem, he added.
During Fridays consultations in New York Britain insisted that a reference to an international conference on the Cyprus problem be included in the draft resolution, even if the internal aspects of the problem are not resolved. London also argued that such a conference should convene shortly after a scheduled meeting between President Christofias, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu and UN Secretary in late January.
The government of Cyprus has said that it would consent to an international conference on the question of Cyprus provided the two communities are within reach of an agreement and the internal aspects of the problem have been resolved.
 Government dismisses Turkish claimsThe government has dismissed as uncorroborated allegations that Turkish women athletes have been attacked during a volleyball match between a local team and a Turkish team.
Allegations that women athletes and members of the Turkish team were in any danger are totally unfounded, Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou has said, commenting on reports in the Turkish Cypriot press claiming that the Turkish athletes were under attack during the match on Wednesday between Cypriot Apollon and Turkish Galatasaray.
He pointed out that the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus had taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of the guest athletes and the visiting fans. The police had intervened immediately and effectively to avert any unwanted incident, he noted.
The Spokesman suggested that the media reports were another sign of Turkish propaganda.
 Identification process of missing must be acceleratedRelatives of missing persons in Cyprus have appealed to the relevant authorities to accelerate the pace of identification of remains exhumed in the ongoing process to help establish the fate of their loved ones. Nikos Theodosiou, president of the Committee of Relatives of Undeclared prisoners of war and missing persons, has told a Committee meeting that they demand better coordination and a more effective process of identification to match the pace of exhumations.
We want to see more people working at the anthropological laboratory of the Committee on Missing Persons to speed up the process. In addition to that, we must have more teams of experts at exhumation sites, he said. Theodosiou referred to the obstacles the Turkish military raises in this process, recalling that the army continues to deny access to what it designates as military zones.
Ankara, he said, has refused repeatedly to provide information it has about persons listed as missing, to enable investigations to take place into each and every case. He also talked about the need to improve cooperation between the forensic experts at the laboratory and those working at the Institute of Neurology and Genetics where the DNA tests are carried out.
Theodosiou said the Committee has taken its case to Brussels and Strasbourg to plead for help in this humanitarian issue. The European Parliament has appointed a new rapporteur, Maltese Simon Busuttil to deal with the matter, who has already visited Cyprus to talk to interested parties.
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