|Saturday, 18 August 2018|
Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 12-05-31
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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <http://www.cyna.org.cy>
 Cypriot presidency to safeguard conditions of growth and social cohesionPresident of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias said he personally commits himself that the upcoming Cypriot Presidency of the Council shall have as its main aim to constructively contribute and work in a hard and consistent way to safeguard conditions of growth and social cohesion.
In an introductory intervention during the plenary of the meeting between the government of Cyprus and the Conference of Presients of the European Parliament in Nicosia, Christofias further said "it is high time we adopted measures leading us out of the one-street austerity policies largely implemented in the previous years as austerity-only policies evidently lead our economies to deeper recession.
He said the EU can and we must give back hope again to our young people and the political leadership today has an utmost obligation to rescue the younger generation from the spectrum of unemployment and consequent social exclusion.
President Christofias expressed his satisfaction for the opportunity to meet as Government of Cyprus and upcoming Presidency of the Council, the President and the Members of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament, which is its highest political body.
"This meeting is a truly great pleasure for me, as it is in the framework of the final preparation stage of the Government of Cyprus in view of the upcoming, in 30 days as of today, assumption by Cyprus of the rotating Presidency of the Council", he remarked.
President Christofias repeated "the clear political will and commitment of my Government for an incessant cooperation and coordination with you personally, as well as with the members of the Conference of Presidents and the European Parliament in general, as well as with the other institutions of the Union".
Our sole aspiration, he said, "is to attain our common goals Towards a Better Europe, more relevant to its citizens, a Europe of growth and innovation, solidarity, social cohesion and prosperity".
President Christofias said that "undoubtedly, our Union is going through a severe socio-economic crisis, with negative repercussions for its institutional unity. Supporting, however, cohesion and unity of members states is an imperative need. Together, we can certainly do better. However, we have to make a bold analysis of the essence, the depth and extent of the socio-economic crisis".
He said that "all or any measures that were taken in the last years have proven ineffective because of the analysis of the crisis on the basis of the beaten track that wants us incriminating only speculators and some times markets".
It seems, President Christofias remarked, "that the model of absolute and dogmatic hooking on the market freedom without any social control has failed. The passage from the market and the sale of products of the real economy to the money trade is still another factor that has to concern us as one of the causes of today's crisis".
It is important to have corrective changes with regard to the allocation and re-allocation of the produced wealth, he underlined.
President Christofias said that undoubtedly, the EU has recently been promoting actions, aiming at accelerating the structural reforms and the creation of better competitiveness conditions for the European economy and mainly the small and medium sized enterprises. These are actions that we truly hope that they shall lead to an increase of employment, first of all youth employment, and a greener economy. "We are looking forward to cooperating with you Mr. President and collectively with the European Parliament to promote initiatives that aim at shrinking the social pressure that has been created in so many countries of our Union, and that unfortunately, most of the times hits the vulnerable population groups, the unemployed, the low-wage workers, pensioners but most of all the younger generation, our children, the future of our Europe".
He said that the upcoming Cypriot Presidency of the Council "is fully ready to closely work with the European Commission to particularly promote every legislative proposal of the Commission, strengthening social cohesion in the Union".
"I personally commit myself that the upcoming Cypriot Presidency of the Council shall have as its main aim to constructively contribute and we shall work in a hard and consistent way to safeguard conditions of growth and social cohesion", the President underlined.
Christofias further said "it is high time we adopted measures leading us out of the one-street austerity policies largely implemented in the previous years. Austerity-only policies evidently lead our economies to deeper recession. We can and we must give back hope again to our young people". In my view, the political leadership today has an utmost obligation to rescue the younger generation from the spectrum of unemployment and consequent social exclusion.
He also expressed hope that "we shall all seize the opportunity ahead of us in the next six-month period and agree to the adoption of a development budget of the Union for the programming period 2014-2020. I believe that if we faithfully follow the Community method Europe shall once again be able to come out stronger from this grave period".
Returning to Cyprus' preparations for the upcoming presidency, he said these are at their peak "and I am responsibly stating to you that we shall rise to the challenge of assuming the six-month Presidency of the Council, for the first time since our accession. With a special feeling of pride and at the same time being fully aware of the responsibility we have undertaken, we boldly state that Cyprus, as an honest broker, shall unsparingly try to reach the biggest possible number of convergences within the Council as well as to promote the legislative work, as proposed by the European Commission and co-decided by the European Parliament and the Council.
He said that in close cooperation with the Trio of our Presidency, and especially the current Danish Presidency of the Council and taking into consideration the working programme of the Commission for 2012, and the socio-economic developments, we have essentially completed the drafting of the programme and the priorities of the Cypriot Presidency.
President Christofias said that Cyprus Presidency of the Council shall focus on attaining the goal towards a BETTER EUROPE. Our main message is to work together for a Union closer to its citizens, more relevant to its citizens, with less bureaucracy, social cohesion and an enhanced role in the world. The springboard being our key message towards a BETTER EUROPE, the Cyprus Presidency wishes to stress the need for the European Union to return to its founding principles, safeguarding the core element: better quality of life for its citizens.
Our key message, he added, is impregnated on the one hand by the principle of Solidarity and Social Cohesion and the principle of Efficiency and Growth on the other hand.
The Cypriot President further presented for the first time officially the four main priorities that the Cyprus Presidency of the Council shall promote.
The first is Ňurope, more efficient and sustainable, giving emphasis to the Multiannual Financial Framework (2014-2020), with the ultimate goal to complete the negotiations in order to have a fairer and more efficient budget of the Union leading to the creation of growth and employment.
He explained that the Presidency shall also try to make the biggest possible progress in the negotiations regarding the legislative framework of its common policies for the new programming period. That is, the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, the Cohesion Policy and the Research and Innovation Policies. The Energy Policy is of special importance as well as the "Connecting Europe" Facility and the Trans-European Networks of transport, telecommunications and energy, that shall further contribute to the competitiveness of the EU. Sustainable growth shall constitute an important issue during the Cyprus Presidency, the main axis being the need of an integrated approach to the policies of transport, climate change, the environment and energy, Special emphasis shall also be given to the sustainable water management, on the occasion of the "Year of Water", as well as the reactivation of the Integrated Maritime Policy.
The second priority is Ňurope, with a better performing and growth-based economy. President Christofias described that the economic crisis unveiled the need for more efficiency of the policies and measures of the Union, as well as the fact that the approach needed for the European economy to recover, has to include fiscal consolidation measures, as well as measures for a sustainable, economic growth. "In this framework the Cyprus Presidency shall focus on safeguarding the fiscal stability. Monitoring the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy is of special importance. Additionally, strengthening economic growth and promoting the opportunities for employment are of major importance for the Cyprus Presidency, taking into consideration the repercussions of the economic crisis. The financial services are also an important matter for the Cyprus Presidency, as they shall contribute to the protection of consumers and investors and to enhance market transparency. During the Presidency and on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the Single Market, deepening the internal market shall be further promoted, with the aim to revive the European economy and achieve social progress as well as offer support to the SMEs and the consumers.
The third priority is Ňurope, more relevant to its citizens, with Solidarity and Social Cohesion. As he said, the Cyprus Presidency aims at bringing Europe closer to its citizens, attaching emphasis to youth employment. One of the main goals of the Presidency shall be to conclude the Common European Asylum System until the end of 2012, by enhancing cooperation amongst the member states to protect the rights of those in need of international protection. The presidency shall also promote the new legal framework for the protection of personal data, as well as it shall manage the issues related to the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. In the framework of strengthening European social policy, the Cyprus Presidency wishes to promote the issues of child well-being and fighting against child poverty. In the field of education and culture, negotiations on the next generation programmes are particularly important (Erasmus for all), promoting literacy as well as the proposal for the Creative Europe programme, after 2013.
The fourth priority is Ňurope in the world and closer to its neigbours.
According to President Christofias, the Cyprus Presidency shall be in close cooperation with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European External Action Service. In the framework of the external policy of the Union, special importance shall be attached to the Southern Dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy, promoting the relations of the Union with our Mediterranean neighbours.
Turning to the Cyprus issue, he described it as the wound of the ongoing occupation and division of Cyprus in relation to the upcoming assumption of the Presidency of the Council.
Despite our tireless efforts, he remarked, "we have still not achieved the solution of the Cyprus problem and the much-desired reunification of our country. I want to categorically express our full readiness to continue dialogue for the solution of the Cyprus problem even during the Cyprus Presidency of the Council of the E.U. The Cyprus Presidency is independent of the efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, aiming at the reunification of our country and our people".
"And on this point, I would like to express my personal disappointment for the fact that some of our friends in Brussels and elsewhere, have still not realized this special institutional role that Cyprus shall assume on the 1st of July", the President remarked.
He reassured "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 shall hold 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``, he concluded.
 Government: New package of financial measures to be announced soonThe Cyprus government will announce soon a new package of financial measures, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said on Thursday.
Speaking to the Press, Stephanou noted that the announcement should not be expected today or on Friday and added that the main issue at stake right now was not the consolidation of public finances but the recapitalization of banks.
The present government, he said, has taken a series of measures for the economy, more than any government in the past. Commenting on a package of proposals, issued on Wednesday by the European Commission, Stephanou said it was clear that the main problem facing the Cypriot economy was the exposure of local banks to Greece.
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