Cyprus is ready to introduce the Euro, says Finance Minister and IMF official
Nicosia, Jan 12 -- Cyprus Finance Minister Michalis Sarris strongly believes it will be to the benefit of all Cypriots to adopt the euro the soonest possible. The target date is January 1, 2008, he stressed.
''With the fact and only that we are members of the European Union, we are given the right to enter the euro without additional obligations beyond the fulfillment of the Maastricht criteria,'' he added.
Mr. Sarris believes the introduction of the euro will not involve additional sacrifices or demands from Cyprus.
His statements came days only after International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Director Jeroen Kremers said that Cyprus is ready to introduce the Euro as soon as possible.
Mr. Kremers, who represents Cyprus in the IMF Board, had paid a two-day visit to the island to be briefed on the Cyprus economy.
He told a press conference in Nicosia: ''I think during the last two years very big progress has been made to get the public deficit under control with a quite a sizable reduction in a few years at a time when economy was growing healthily." "Cyprus is ready to introduce the Euro as soon as possible," he added.
According to the IMF Official, ''Cyprus has been ready for quite some time (to join the Eurozone) with basically completely fixed exchange rate and has no problems adjusting to its external environment''.
Referring to the public finances, Mr. Kremers said that he is ''impressed'' over Mr. Sarris' plans to introduce three year term budgetary framework.
He also noted that this would help to increase efficiency, to make savings and make more money available for new priorities without doing that at the cost of higher deficit.