Nicosia to compromise 'conflicting EU interests'

One day before Nicosia takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union, Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias told Greek state television that his government will try to reach a compromise among all bloc members for the growth package agreed this week in Brussels, as well as enforcing measures to streamline the island’s economy without making its people suffer.

Cyprus will preside over the EU from Sunday until the end of the year and Christofias told NET on Saturday that “the Cypriot presidency will have to manage the package in favor of growth so as to reach a conciliatory conclusion for all of the Union’s members by the end of 2012. The EU consists of governments with conflicting interests.”

Asked about the June 28-29 European Council summit, he expressed his satisfaction: “The direct recapitalization [of banks] constitutes a step forward. There have been some positive decisions for the countries of the South.”

Cyprus will not withdraw its application to the European Stability Mechanism even if it secures bilateral loans from Russia or China, the Cypriot President stressed: “We have referred to these two countries and we are waiting for their answer. But even if we agree we shall not withdraw our application to the Mechanism.”

“We will not require huge amounts of money. We will have to recapitalize at least two banks of ours with over 2 billion euros. By July 9 the representatives of the European Commission will come to Cyprus for consultations,” said Christofias, whose term in office ends in February 2013.

“Half of the countries in Europe are in crisis due to the deep crisis that has enveloped the system in general. We have fallen into the arms of the Mechanism due to the great exposure of Cypriot banks in Greek state bonds, not because of our state debt or deficit. The crisis has brought a reduction to our state revenues of over 1 billion euros per year.”

Responding to a question about statements by the CEO of Cyprus Popular Bank Michalis Sarris regarding tough measures to be asked for the Cypriot economy by iots creditors, Christofias promised that the Cypriot people would not need to suffer.

“Some people have a neoliberal philosophy, but we do not. We will take the necessary but bearable measures for the people. We will show in documented fashion that we will not need any tougher measures than those we are already taking. As long as there are people, hope springs eternal. They just need to set their targets.”

On the Cyprus issue, Christofias said negotiations are in a deadlock due to Turkey’s intransigence and that maybe after the February election the peace process will restart. He added that he felt the strong support from his EU peers.

“Chancellor Merkel expressed her solidarity to Cyprus against the cynical behavior by Turkey toward the Cypriot presidency,” concluded Christofias. 

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