3 March 2016, Nicosia

 

Thank you Minister, thank you Haris.

I would like to thank you for this very good and constructive meeting we had today. It was a good occasion to discuss economic and social developments in Cyprus, what has been achieved so far and the future direction of work to strengthen the economic recovery of Cyprus.

I would like to commend and congratulate the Government and Minister Georgiades personally on his commitment and effort to do the necessary structural reforms to turn Cyprus' economy around, to return to economic growth and jobs creation. Indeed, we see that results are starting to show. This is the second year of recovery. According to the European Commission's forecasts, we expect 1.5% growth for Cyprus this year, further strengthening to 2% next year. We see unemployment clearly going down. We see Cyprus systematically over-performing its fiscal targets of the Programme. This year, we expect Cyprus not only to have a substantial primary surplus, but also to have a small general government surplus of 0.1% of GDP. This strong fiscal performance is also helping Cyprus to reduce its public debt. In fact, already this year, we expect debt to reduce to just below 100% of GDP and continue declining in the coming years.

During today's meeting, we also discussed cooperation with Cyprus as regards technical assistance provided by the Structural Reform Support Service of the European Commission. Here, we are willing to work further with the Cypriot authorities in the areas indicated to us and to assist Cyprus with modernising public administration, tax administration, amongst others. As the Minister has highlighted, the adjustment programme is ending this month. This is not the end of the road. It is, in fact, very important to stay the course, to continue the structural reform effort, to continue with responsible fiscal policies. We clearly see this commitment, this determination, from the Government and from the Minister personally. So thank you for this meeting. I wish you every success in your future work, including after the programme.