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When Nikos Anastasiades took office as president of Cyprus in 2013, few envied him and his new government the gargantuan task they faced, at a time in the nation’s history that was widely held to be the most difficult ever. Cyprus was edging towards bankruptcy and the two main banks required billions of euros of emergency liquidity assistance. Now after twenty seven months of his presidency, the banks have been recapitalised with their ability to access to international markets restored somewhat and the Troika have issued multiple favourable and encouraging reports. Both Cyprus and the banks have been upgraded by the ratings agency following progress in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding, heralding a return of confidence. The cooperation of the political parties, social partners, the unions and the sacrifices of the Cypriot people has made possible this implementation process, which is ongoing. Measures and incentives announced by the government have meant investments of 1 billion euros in the banks and real estate purchases of 2 billion euros. The government’s Investment Citizenship in Cyprus has proven to be very attractive to foreign investors. All of this has allowed a completely different and positive situation to emerge.
Speaking in an interview with Gold News, Mr Anastasiades referred to the government strategies for reforming the civil service and government ministries. A plan is expected to be ready in five to six months’ time to include the topics of modernisation and reduction of bureaucracy and creating a growth focussed service.
Although progress had been slow in this area, he admitted, other things had taken higher priority earlier, and the attitudes that had become entrenched over a sixty year period could not be changed overnight. In addition, proper study needs to be carried out to ensure a successful outcome.
The president has appointed a number of comparatively young people in their forties to key government posts, in a departure from the usual choice of older candidates. In reference to this point he said that he had great confidence in younger people and was impressed with their performances both in terms of their goals and successful programmes they had implemented. They had also succeeded in changing attitudes.
Mr. Anastasiades expressed confidence that the election of Mustafa Akinci as Turkish Cypriot leader raised hope that successful steps towards a viable and functional resolution of The Cyprus Problem could be found. It will require good will and hard work of all parties concerned. A solution would bring growth and development and offer a future to the young people of Cyprus within Cyprus rather than abroad, by the resultant stability and attraction of investment from both home and abroad. When asked, Mr. Anastasiades said that he hoped his legacy would be the solution of The Cyprus Problem and also in the creation of a modern state equal with any other European country.
With tourism increasing and the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits offshore it seems that Cyprus is heading in a positive direction.
Sources: www.goldnews.com.cy, www.imf.org.
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