|Friday, 15 November 2019|
Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 96-11-01
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>
 Cyprus committed to join EU as soon as possible, says Finance MinisterCyprus would be willing and determined to join the third stage of European Monetary Union immediately with its accession to the European Union, Minister of Finance Christodoulos Christodoulou said yesterday.
He said Cyprus' strong and stable currency, the fixed link of the Cyprus pound with the ECU since 1992 and the fact that the island's economy meets all the Maastricht convergence criteria qualify Cyprus in this respect.
Addressing a conference in London on "Cyprus in the European Union" organised by the European Institute of the London School of Economics and the Hellenic Institute, the Minister said that the government, supported by all political parties, is committed to promoting the accession of Cyprus into the European Union "as soon as is possible".
The Minister said that since 1990 when Cyprus applied for full membership of the EU, the Cyprus economy has continued to expand rapidly and the growth rate averaged 5 per cent over the five years to 1995. There have been conditions of full employment, a low rate of inflation and the account deficit of the balance of payments was kept within manageable margins. In addition, he said, the foreign exchange value of the Cyprus pound has remained strong and has been pegged to the ECU since July 1992.
Mr Christodoulou said that the government's basic fiscal policy objective has been to meet the Maastricht Treaty convergence criteria for the government deficit and public debt and that in 1995 these criteria were satisfied, with the ratio of government deficit to GDP being reduced to 0,9 per cent, and the ratio of government debt to GDP declining to 54 per cent.
In terms of macroeconomic indicators, the performance of Cyprus' economy compares favourably with that of most EU members, he said, adding that economic growth has been higher, while the rates of unemployment and inflation have been lower than the average for the EU.
"In 1995 Cyprus and Luxembourg were the only countries to fully satisfy all the Maastricht convergence criteria", he said and added that Cyprus ranks 23rd world-wide on the Human Development Index estimated by the United Nations Development Programme.
As regards 1996 economic indicators, Mr Christodoulou said that although the growth of the Cyprus economy had moderated, "we still expect the growth rate of real GDP to be around 2,5 per cent in 1996, which is favourable in comparison with the performance of EU countries". He said that per capita GDP is forecast to reach US$13.400 in 1996 which is similar to that of Spain and Ireland, while the government deficit is expected to remain at under 3 per cent of GDP and the government debt to GDP ratio at 54 per cent.
The Minister said, moreover, that the Cyprus government shares the conviction of the European Commission when it reviewed the island's economy, that "the adoption of the acquis communautaire by Cyprus will pose no insurmountable problems".
The government's commitment to secure entry into the EU as soon as possible, he said, has led to an intensification of efforts to harmonise and adjust all sectors of economic and social activity to the acquis. Concrete steps taken in this respect, he said, included measures towards liberalisation of financial activities, the new monetary framework introduced from the beginning of 1996 and the new banking bill soon to be presented to the House of Representatives in order for the Cyprus economy to be in line with the deregulated financial systems of the EU.
Referring to the political situation on the island, the Minister said that the government would welcome the accession of the whole of the country's territory to the EU, as it would increase security and confidence, improve the investment climate and allow a more efficient allocation of the factors of production. He emphasised that the Turkish Cypriot community in the occupied area would also benefit from funds within the framework of the EU's regional policy. As the EU Commission itself said, it would help bring the two communities on the island closer together, he stressed.
 Ultra modern methods of land registration introduced in CyprusThe Lands and Surveys Department of the Cyprus Ministry of the Interior has undertaken an ambitious computerisation programme which will expedite procedures to such an extent where the waiting time for the issue of a property title deed will be reduced from 16 days to four minutes.
This was explained at a press conference Thursday (31.10.96) by Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides, who pointed out that the computerisation of the Department would save the government about 30 million Cyprus pounds a year approx. 60 million US dollars and will be completed in the second half of 1997 at a cost of 26 million US dollars. Minister Michaelides said the government has signed an agreement with a foreign consortium to revamp the entire working system of the Department, through computerisation and the creation of relevant data banks leading to a unified system of Land Information, something which, he said, will be a valuable tool for the government and the Cypriot business community in drafting their planning and development course.
The second part of the Land and Surveys Department's development plan concerns a new land survey of free Cyprus. The survey, using satellite images, aerial photographs and computer analyses, is expected to take ten years to complete and will cost around 20 million Cyprus pounds, Michaelides said.
From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/