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Research says Cypriots pessimistic about EU and solution
2005-03-16 15:05:51

Nicosia, Mar 16 (CNA) - Cypriots appear pessimistic regarding Cyprus' accession to the EU in May last year and the prospects of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, according to a research titled ''Cyprus-Barometre'', which shows the Cypriots against Turkey's EU course and in favour of the Republic of Cyprus vetoing Turkey's accession.

The research was undertaken by RAI Consultants Public Ltd for the Economic Research and Planning Service of the Laiki Group, during the period from November 29 to December 17, 2004, and covered the whole population aged 18 to 75, with a sample of 984 persons.

On ''Cyprus and the EU,'' the Cypriots appear pessimistic regarding the benefits the island gained from joining the EU, with only 38% saying Cyprus had benefited and 33% saying it had caused negative consequences. A high percentage said decisions on legislation, regulations, foreign workers, taxation, social welfare, environment, and scientific and technological research, should be taken in cooperation with the EU.

Furthermore, 23% said information about European activities was adequate, while 74% it was not.

The Cypriots also appeared concerned about various issues, with 87% worried about the influx of foreign workers, 81% about drugs and organised crime, 77% regarding the problems of the agricultural sector, 70% about the move of works to countries with lower production costs, 56% about the replacement of the Cyprus pound with the euro, 55% that rich countries would become richer and poor ones poorer, and 50% that each member state would loose its national identity.

On Turkey's EU course, 60% said it disagreed with supporting it and 35% said it agreed. Also, 75% said Turkey should join the EU as a member with restrictions and 74% said the Republic of Cyprus should veto Turkey's accession.

Regarding the Cyprus problem, 23% said it was optimistic about a solution, while 85% said it was pessimistic. On the preconditions for a settlement, 40% named the withdrawal of Turkish troops, 17% the return of refugees and 11% the issue of property.

Also, 58% said living together with the Turkish Cypriots would be easy and 52% said it had already visited the Turkish occupied areas. Of those who did not cross over into the occupied areas, 27% said the reason was the obligatory showing of passports, 13% said it would go after a settlement, 8% referred to security reasons, 5% said it felt it was recognising the puppet regime, 4% mentioned sentimental reasons and 4% said it was not made refugee during the 1974 Turkish invasion.

In the unit titled ''Economy,'' 69% said developments in 2004 in relation to 2003 worsened, while 12% appeared optimistic and 16% said there was no significant change.

On the prospects for 2005, 55% said the economy would deteriorate, 82% said the financial gap between the rich and poor would widen, and 34% said the government should make more expenditure cuts, starting from the state payroll.

In the unit titled ''Internet - E-Commerce,'' only 24% said it used the Internet, with 50% using it for entertainment, 48% for business, 46% for educational purposes, 29% for international news, 24% for local news, 14% for bank transactions, 12% for electronic commerce and 4% for stock exchange purposes.

Other units covered the views of Cypriots on investments and assets, taxation, society, the Church and religion, the quality of life, youth and public order, the possibility of establishing casinos in Cyprus, and the environment.

The ''Cyprus-Barometre'' is along the lines of the EuroBarometre, which is carried out among EU member states.

Director of Economic Research and Planning at Laiki Group Sofronis Eteokleous said the research was a contribution by the Group to informing the public opinion, noting that its results were ''a significant source of statistical data for research purposes into the trends and concepts in the socio-economic system.''

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