Papadopoulos: EU leaders set more realistic and ambitious goals
by Gregory Savva
Brussels, Mar 24 (CNA) – Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos has said the European Council meeting here has agreed on new, more realistic and equally ambitious goals as regards the Lisbon Strategy.
Speaking to the press at the end of Thursday’s discussions at the Council, Papadopoulos referred to the various issues discussed relating to all the aspects of the Lisbon Strategy (employment, research and development) as well as EU energy policy, discussed during the working dinner of the “25”.
Papadopoulos disagreed with the view that the Council has “buried” the Lisbon Strategy, as a result of changes in its goals, adding that the strategy has been revised as time lapses and unforseen negative developments take place.
“I don’t agree that a tombstone has been laid. On the contrary more realistic goals, equally ambitious have been decided and I think will be achieved,” Papadopoulos said, noting that the creation of 2 million working positions every year for the next 10 years and the expenditure for research and science to reach the 3% of the GDP of each member state, not only from government sources but in cooperation with the private sector, are “feasible and quite ambitious” goals.
Papadopoulos said the Commission has approved and applauded the National Reforms Programme submitted by Cyprus, adding that the programme has secured “very flattering comments for its realistic evaluation of economic prospects and the good state of our economy.”
Asked about the Lisbon Strategy with regard to Cyprus, Papadopoulos said the most important goal which has been achieved to a great extent concerns the reduction of the public deficit and the gradual drop in the public debt.
“Prospects for the reduction of the public dept to 0.5 of the GDP by 2009 are considered by the Commission feasible,” he added.
On EU efforts to boost employment, he said that Cyprus is in a very good position compared to almost all other EU countries and noted that the inflation of Cyprus which stands at 2% is under the EU average. The development rate of Cyprus' economy is at 4%, that is higher from the EU average development rate.
Cyprus, he said, has about 15.000 registered unemployed and about 400.000 active labour force.
On energy matters, Papadopulos said all leaders had noted the serious need to secure resources of energy supplies.