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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-05-28
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Van Rompuy: The Cyprus presidency must be fully respected by allThe EU Council presidency is a fundamental feature of our Union and must be fully respected by all, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said on Monday, referring to Turkey.
In statements he made after a meeting he had with President of the Republic Demetris Christofias, Van Rompuy said that during the meeting he was briefed of recent developments in the Cyprus UN led talks, which aim to reunite the island divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.
"The EU continues to attach utmost importance to the continuation of the negotiations and calls on both sides to make every effort to pave the way for a comprehensive settlement", he said, adding that the "status quo is in no one's interest".
Although, Rompuy said, "this is a Cypriot led process, the EU stands ready to provide the necessary support".
The ultimate goal, he added is a united Cyprus in the EU.
President of the European Council continued noting that during the meeting with President Christofias "with regard to Turkey, I recalled the strong support which the European Council already provided in December 0211 to the upcoming Cypriot presidency".
The presidency, he stressed, "is a fundamental feature of our Union, based on the EU Treaty, and must be fully respected by all".
On his part, President Christofias said that "I reaffirmed our full readiness to continue the dialogue for a solution even during the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU".
"The Cyprus Presidency is independent of the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, aiming at the reunification of our country and our people", he added.
The Cypriot President assured Van Rompuy of "our unshakable will not to allow the Cyprus Presidency of the Council to be affected by the problems that occupying Turkey is creating".
Cyprus, he said, "shall preside over an entirely European Presidency of the Council and any problems that Turkey might create shall be problems managed in a collective, European way. Last December's Conclusions of the European Council are clear enough on this issue".
At the same time, he thanked Van Rompuy "for the opportunity that he gave during the Council of December to position myself on the Cyprus problem".
The two men also spoke of the need for growth in Europe, with Van Rompuy expressing the view that "it is obvious that opposing "deficit reduction" and "growth" is a false debate". They are, he said, "two sides of the same coin".
Referring to the plans the EU has made to boost growth, he spoke of three pillars, which will be based on the Europe 2020 strategy.
The first pillar has to do with mobilizing EU policies to fully support growth, he noted. As an example of that, he gave the need for rapid progress on important legislative proposals such as the Single Market Act or the Energy Efficiency Directive.
The second pillar, Van Rompuy said has to do with stepping up "our efforts to finance the economy through investments and better access of SMEs to credit, to complement reforms". In this context, the Board of the European Investment Bank has been invited to consider an increase of capital by June to be used by supporting projects across the EU, he added.
The third pillar, he noted, is to strengthen job creation.
"We need reforms and measures to support the labour demand and job-creation", he said.
Van Rompuy further expressed the view that the European Council to take place end of June which will focus for the first time at summit level on the Multiannual Financial Framework will "set the stage for the high- level negotiations which will continue during the Cyprus EU presidency".
"Our goal is to concluded them by the end of this year to equip the EU with a growth and job-enhancing tool, which will support – both directly and indirectly – thousands of investments in different areas".
On his part, President Christofias expressed the point of view that "austerity-only policies, evidently lead our economies to deeper recession", adding that "we can and we must give back hope again to the European citizens".
Firstly, he noted, "we must give prospects and hope to our young people, to the future of our Europe".
"I personally commit myself that the main goal of the upcoming Cypriot Presidency of the Council will be to constructively contribute and work in a hard and consistent way to safeguard conditions of growth and social cohesion", he stressed.
At the same time, he expressed the hope that "we shall all seize the opportunity ahead of us in the upcoming semester and agree to adopt a development budget of the Union for the next programming period of 2014-2020".
President Christofias further said that "I believe that if we faithfully follow the Community method, Europe will once again be able to tackle methodically and effectively the crisis and come out stronger from this grave period".
In a particular reference to the problems Greece is faced with, he highlighted the fact that "I expressed to my friend, the President, the view that the Union should support Greece with substantial growth measures".
"I underlined that the Greek people cannot endure any further austerity measures", he noted, adding that "we need to immediately activate uncommitted resources from the structural funds of the Union to supplement programmes that will lead to increasing employment in Greece".
"Our solidarity towards Greece is indisputable and we wish the country to remain in the Eurozone", he stressed.
President Christofias also spoke of the difficulties the Cypriot economy faces as a result of the crisis of Greece and the exposure of Cypriot banks to Greek bonds.
"Our efforts focus on avoiding entry into the European Stability Mechanism", he said, adding that "however, I would like to thank the President sincerely for his assurances regarding Brussels' readiness to help if need be".
"The Government is closely monitoring the situation and our cooperation with the competent institutional bodies of the Union is, of course, incessant", he assured.
 Cyprus economy problems may be overcome, CB Governor saysThe problems the Cyprus economy is facing may be overcome with the continuation of actions being taken already, Central Bank Governor Panikos Demetriades has said.
In statements to the press after a meeting he had in Nicosia with head of left wing ruling party AKEL Andros Kyprianou, Demetriades said that the problems may be overcome if measures already underway continue as well as with the good cooperation of all political parties and the government.
"What is important", he said, "is that the economy's problems are overcome and not the way in which they are overcome".
He did not rule out that Cyprus might have to recourse to the European Financial Stability Mechanism, adding however that if that was to happen it would be under terms which would not be disadvantageous to the country's economy.
 EU focused on tackling early school leaving, Commissioner Vassiliou saysYouth unemployment costs the EU more than 2 billion euro per week whereas the average cost for each student who leaves the school system early, could reach more than one million euro for the whole of his/her life.
The above data were announced by the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism, Sport, Media and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou during a Conference on Early School Leaving and the Europe 2020 Strategy, which took place Monday at the coastal town of Limassol.
Delivering a speech at the seminar, Commissioner Vassiliou said that every year a percentage of more than 14% of young EU citizens between the ages of 18-24 years old, attend only secondary education.
She moreover noted that one out of seven youngsters in the EU are under the risk of unemployment , poverty and social exclusion and they are often in more precarious and less well paid jobs.
 Sylikiotis to hold a series of meetings in BrusselsMinister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Neoklis Sylikiotis departs on Monday for Brussels, in order to participate on Tuesday in a conference titled "Mission Growth – Europe at the Lead of the New Industrial Revolution", which is organized by Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner on Industry and Entrepreneurship.
According to an official announcement, Sylikiotis will participate on Wednesday in the Competitiveness Council and on Thursday in the Trade Formation of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
During his stay in Brussels, Sylikiotis will hold a series of meetings with EU officials in order to discuss issues that the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism will deal with during the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the EU, due to begin on July 1st, 2012.
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