|Monday, 23 April 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-03-14
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 President ready to continue direct talks during Cyprus’ EU PresidencyPresident Demetris Christofias has said he is ready to continue the ongoing UN-led direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem, during the Republic’s EU Presidency the second half of 2012.
However he clarified that these two processes shall run parallel and separately.
Speaking at an event organized by the Cyprus Academy of Public Administration on Cyprus’ EU Presidency, President Christofias assured that during its Presidency, the Cyprus Republic will represent the whole of the EU, calling on everyone to avoid any “political traps”.
He said that there are those who expect that Cyprus will not act impartially towards Turkey and its European accession course and that it will try to promote national interests.
The President said that he was aware of such “rumors” circulating during recent European Councils.
“I have made it clear that Cyprus’ presidency is going to be a European Presidency and not a Cypriot one and we are going to focus on all those issues that need to be resolved”, he stressed.
Addressing senior government officials who attended the event, he said that they ought to be ready and alarmed in order to deal with any “political traps” related to the Cyprus problem.
He underlined that they should approach all these matters having in mind that “we will preside over the Council of the EU in a way that attributes to the importance we give to this role.”
“Your approach must reflect EU common interests and the conclusions of the European Council of last December as regards Turkey’s EU course must be your shield”, the President noted.
He also stressed that Turkey as a candidate country is called to show respect to Cyprus who is taking over the Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Referring to the ongoing direct talks, President Christofias noted that he has conveyed to the UN and the international community his readiness to continue the negotiations during the Cyprus’ EU Presidency.
“These are two parallel but separate procedures and we should not hide under the carpet all the problems related to the Turkish invasion and the unresolved Cyprus problem”.
The President underlined that we shall not take advantage of our privileged position as the upcoming EU President country in order to promote national interests, but rather we will implement all the European decisions regarding the candidate countries, including Turkey.
The President of the Republic also said that Cyprus does not accept to be a “second-class” Presidency because of the Cyprus problem.
He went on to say that Cyprus demands respect as a President country and if its role is at any point put to doubt, there will be consequences.
During his address, the President said that the Cyprus’ EU Presidency is a huge challenge but also a unique opportunity for our country to contribute to the European economic and political integration and to act as an equal, reliable and responsible member state.
He said that in order to accomplish all the above we need to be punctual, sensible and efficient. The President noted that the priorities and goals of the Cyprus Presidency are too many, adding that “we should not stretch our arm further that our sleeve”.
He noted that during his recent meeting with the President of the European Commission in Brussels, Jose Manuel Barroso stressed that if Cyprus manages to achieve only two of its goals, then we would be talking of a successful Presidency. However he stressed that Cyprus “is competent to reach more than two of its goals”, Christofias added.
In his speech, President noted that Cyprus will work as an honest broker in order to reach as many convergences in the Council as possible. He said that the Cypriot Presidency will try to promote the idea of a better Europe, saying that we shall act united with our differences for the better interest of our peoples.
President Christofias said that all the European member states must work together in order to combat the current financial crisis and open the way for further growth and coherence.
He said that “although we cannot be certain of where this crisis will lead us, the challenges for the Cyprus Presidency will be very deep and unity among the member states is necessary.”
He said that structural changes are needed in order to combat the crisis, noting that the current distribution of wealth leads to poverty.
In his speech the President referred to the role of the European Parliament, stressing the need for further improvement in relations.
He described his relation with the President of the European Parliament as excellent, noting that during the Cyprus Presidency the cooperation will be constructive. He said that he is in constant contact with President Martin Schulz for issues related to the Cyprus problem.
 Commission concerned about Turkish threatsThe European Commission expressed serious concern about the Turkish statements and threats regarding the organisation of meetings for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership during Cyprus` Presidency of the Council of EU, and asks for full respect of the role of the Presidency of the Council.
The issue was raised with a written question to the European Commission by Cypriot MEP Kyriakos Triantaphyllides. The MEP was asking what action will the European Commission take to overcome the Turkish veto in organizing meetings for the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership during the Cypriot Presidency.
The MEP reminded that the intention of Cyprus to organize during its Presidency a series of high level meetings to discuss issues related to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, is blocked by the veto of Turkey.
In his response Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule points out that the European Commission refers to the European Council conclusions of December 9, 2011, in which the European Council expressed serious concern about the Turkish statements and threats, and calls for full respect of the role of the Presidency which is a key institution of the EU.
 Nicosia supports Montenegro`s EU bidCypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis reiterated Cyprus` support to Montenegro`s EU accession course, adding that accession negotiations most probably will start during the Cypriot EU Presidency in the second half of 2012.
Marcoullis held Wednesday talks with Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen who pays a working visit to Cyprus. They also signed an agreement on the mutual protection of classified information and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation between the two countries in the field of European integration.
``I know how important is for Montenegro, a European country with European tradition, to join the European family,`` Marcoullis said in statements during a joint press conference with Rocen.
She added that accession negotiations with Montenegro will most probably start during the Cypriot presidency.
 Moody`s downgrades three Cypriot banksFollowing the downgrade of Cyprus` bonds, Moody`s Investors Service downgraded on Wednesday the ratings of three Cypriot banks, Bank of Cyprus, Marfin Popular Bank and Hellenic Bank.
Moody`s downgraded BoC`s deposit and debt ratings by two notches to B1, with a negative outlook from Ba2 and standalone credit assessment to B2 from Ba3, Marfin`s by one notch to B3 with a developing outlook from B2 and standalone credit assessment to Caa1 from B3 and Hellenic Bank deposit and debt ratings by one notch to Ba3 with a negative outlook from Ba2 and standalone credit assessment to B1 from Ba3.
As the agency notes, the downgrades reflect, to differing degrees, the combined pressures on the banks` standalone credit profiles from the following factors, namely ``the crystallisation of losses on banks` holdings of Greek government bonds (GGBs) after Greece`s debt exchange, requiring an increase in the banks` capital to bring their core Tier 1 ratios back up to the domestic regulatory minimum level of 8% and to cover the shortfall indicated by the 9% stress test target of the European Banking Authority (EBA)``.
Additionally the agency believes that an acceleration in problem loan formation in 2011 and Moody`s expectation of continued severe asset-quality pressure from the weak operating environments in Cyprus and Greece, Cypriot banks` two main markets, leading to higher loan loss provisions, adding that the weakening funding and liquidity positions, which are the result of deposit outflows which in turn have triggered an increased reliance on central bank funding for some banks. Moody`s also expects that the ``declining business volumes will pressure pre-provision profitability, thereby weakening internal loss-absorption capacity.``
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