Cyprus and Greece to intensify their economic cooperation
Nicosia, Apr 8 (CNA) -- Cypriot Finance Minister Makis Keravnos and his Greek counterpart George Alogoskoufis announced here Friday, that they will step up their cooperation in all economic fields and within the framework of the European Union.
Speaking at a joint press conference, both Keravnos and Alogoskoufis praised the level of economic cooperation between the two countries, noting that there is room for further development, especially within the framework of the EU.
The Greek Minister extended an invitation to Keravnos to visit Greece for official talks.
Alogoskoufis assured that Greece supports Cyprus' bid to enter the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), adding that Greece will also support Cyprus' bid to receive more European Funds as an island EU member-state.
Referring to the economic activity between the two countries, Alogoskoufis said that Greece comes first as regards foreign investments in Cyprus, adding that 4.5% of Greek exports is directed to Cyprus.
He noted that in the period between 1998-2002 the Greek funds invested in Cyprus reached a total of 457 million Euros.
The Greek Finance Minister also praised the very close cooperation between Cyprus and Greece in tourism, noting that ''there are great possibilities for further cooperation for tourism in the broader region and particularly in countries of the Far East.''
Alogoskoufis also pointed out the need for Cyprus and Greece to align their positions in view of ''the crucial'' negotiations within the EU for the fiscal perspectives for 2007-2013.
In his statements, Keravnos said that Cyprus' accession in the ERM II will be achieved as soon as possible, adding that he received Greece's declared support in Cyprus' bid to receive more EU funds.
According to Keravnos, due to the geographical position of Cyprus, the transportation of Cypriot products to EU countries costs five times more than the average EU countries, while the transportation of persons costs three times more.
''The distance separating Cyprus from the centre of activities in Europe is an issue which we will try to face and I am sure that we will face efficiently with Greek support'', the Cypriot Finance Minister noted.
Both Keravnos and Alogoskoufis said that they agreed on the need to amend some agreements for the economic cooperation between Cyprus and Greece, such as the one for avoiding double taxation between the two countries so that it can correspond to the new European framework.
"This amendment of these agreement will further impetus in the cooperation we want to develop'', Keravnos noted.