As Cyprus economy recovers, Cypriots must benefit more from investment plans, EU Commissioner says

After three years of remarkable reform efforts the economy of Cyprus is recovering, European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen has said, adding that Cyprus must work more to benefit from Europe’s investment plans.

Addressing an event in Nicosia on EU Funding and the Investment Plan for Europe, the EU Commissioner said that Cyprus was one of the countries hit the hardest by the crisis, adding that ‘after three years of remarkable reform efforts the economy of Cyprus is recovering’.

In his televised message, he said that more than a year back when he had addressed a similar event in the Cypriot town of Limassol, the growth expectation for 2017 was 2.5%, while today this expectation has been revised by a percentage point upwards.

‘These are excellent news. I commend the Cypriot authorities for working to improve the country’s conditions to enable sustainable growth’, he stressed.

In addition, he expressed satisfaction for the fact that the first infrastructure projects under the European Fund for Strategic Investments was approved some days ago.

‘The project by the Cyprus Organisation for Storage and Managing of Oil Stocks will allow improved access and control over the country’s emergency reserve stocks’, he pointed out.

He recalled that last December an initiative to support lending to SMEs in Cyprus was approved.

Noting that these are very good results he said that more needs and can be done.

The Commissioner said that Cyprus is the second last EU country benefiting from the European Fund For Strategic Investments as percentage of its GDP.

‘There is therefore room for further exploiting its benefits’ he said, noting that many sectors in Cyprus can benefit from the Fund, such as tourism, energy, renewable energy, as well as research development and innovation.

‘I invite you to come up with good projects and present them to the European Investment Bank’ he told participants at the event.

The Finnish Commissioner said that the action plan for growth in Cyprus should be further implemented to improve the business environment and reduce the administrative burden for companies, while measures to modernize the justice system should be taken.

‘Thanks to the Investment Plan for Europe and the continued reforms (in Cyprus) I am convinced that the recovery in Cyprus will be long-lasting. The Commission and the European Investment Bank are Cyprus’ partners in this endeavour’, he concluded.

Meanwhile, in his address at the event, Head of the European Commission’s Representation in Cyprus, Giorgos Markopouliotis, said that between 2014-2020, European funds amounting to 1.35 billion euro will be allocated to Cyprus, 950 million of which will be used to boost growth and employment. The projects include infrastructure projects, support of the SMEs, and training of young people and the unemployed.

In addition, he talked about the competitive programs of the EU, as well as other means of funding from the Investment Plan for Europe.

Markopouliotis said that the European Social Fund has already contributed to the progress of some structural reforms in previous years and gave a series of examples, such as the strengthening of competitiveness and innovation, the promotion of Cypruss digital strategy, the improvement of ecosystems and biodiversity, the support of the transition to a low-carbon economy, the reduction of youth unemployment, the encouragement of the active inclusion and the vocational education and training.

The first part of the event focused on the European funds, while the second one on the Investment Plan for Europe.

Source: Cyprus News Agency