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Lillikas says EU accession marks beginning of new era
2003-05-23 13:39:34

Nicosia, May 22 (CNA) - Cyprus' accession to the EU marks the beginning of new prospects for the island and its people and sets the preconditions for a better future, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lillikas said today.

Speaking at the opening of the 28th Cyprus International Fair, Lillikas said harmonisation with the acquis communautaire should not be seen as a restrictive framework but as a challenge for modernisation, adding that the government's new strategic development plan for the period 2004-2006 aims at the social and economic modernisation of the country through constant progress.|

Lillikas said that despite the adverse climate created by international crises, the Fair ''gives a new impetus and contributes to the collective effort to widen and enrich commerce, modernise and rejuvenate the industry, and broaden services through the utilisation of the infinite possibilities offered by technology''.

He said Cyprus' accession to the EU ''marks the beginning of a new prospect for our country and its people and sets the preconditions for a better, more humane, safer and constructive future''.

The Minister noted that harmonisation with the acquis communautaire ''should not be seen as a restrictive framework but as a challenge for modernisation'', adding that ''together we can make Cypriot enterprises even more flexible''.

Referring to the government's new strategic development plan for the period 2004-2006, Lillikas said ''it aims at the social and economic modernisation of the country'', through constant progress.

Lillikas said that the government's development priorities for achieving its strategic aims are expanding and upgrading infrastructure, enhancing competitiveness, developing human resources, promoting equal opportunities, strengthening social coherence, creating a balanced development, protecting the environment and upgrading the quality of life.

Making special reference to tourism, Lillikas said the past couple of years have been ''difficult'' due to international crises, adding that the government took measures to support the tourist industry.

He expressed optimism for 2003 and noted that the government would continue to monitor developments and act accordingly.

Lillikas expressed certainty that ''the future of the Cypriot economy offers significant potential'', adding that ''our aims are feasible''.

Concluding his speech, Lillikas wished that next year Turkish Cypriot exhibitors would participate in the Fair in a reunited Cyprus that will be a full member of the EU by then.

CNA/RG/MM/2003
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY
22/05/2003

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