Statement by President Barroso on Cyprus
26.03.2013 Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. After talks at the highest level with the President of Cyprus, the Eurogroup yesterday [March 24] reached an agreement on a programme for the Republic of Cyprus that, if properly implemented, we believe will restore the viability of the Cypriot economy.
The European Commission has worked intensively to make this deal possible.
We have had the interests of the people of Cyprus in mind throughout this process, since we started talks on a possible programme already in 2011. We had to find a solution together for a business model that was not viable and could not offer lasting prosperity to the people of Cyprus.
The challenges for Cyprus are immense, but Cyprus can count on the European Union to support it. As I have underlined yesterday in the talks that preceded the Eurogroup discussion, we should think not only about financial stability. It is about restarting the real economy. Last night, we agreed on a 10 Billion Euro package worth 55% of the GDP of Cyprus. And we need to look at how we can mobilise all the means at our disposal. That is why I have decided to set up a Task Force for Cyprus to provide technical assistance to the Cypriot authorities.
We want to alleviate the social consequences of the economic shock by mobilising funds from European Union instruments and by supporting the Cypriot authorities' efforts to restore financial, economic and social stability. We will bring in further expertise to facilitate the emergence of new sources of economic activity. The Commission stands by the Cypriot people.
The Task Force will be based in Brussels, with a support team in Nicosia. It will work closely with the Cypriot authorities to support and supplement the EU-IMF programme. Its work will have a strong focus on employment, competitiveness and growth. The Task Force will provide quarterly progress reports to the Cypriot authorities and the Commission. General coordination of the Task Force, which is also coordinating closely with the Task Force for Greece, will be ensured by Commission Vice President Olli Rehn.
As we have shown in the past, Europe faces its challenges together. We do not leave Member States facing a financial crisis alone. With responsibility on the part of Cyprus, we will ensure that solidarity is provided by the euro area.
I call on Cyprus to show unity and responsibility in the implementation of the agreements reached. And I call on all Member States of the European Union to show solidarity with the country that is facing extraordinary challenges and that needs this solidarity in very concrete terms.