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Former EU Commissioner says Cyprus should proceed with reforms
2006-04-28 17:03:12

Nicosia, Apr 28 (CNA) - Former Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, PASOK MP Anna Diamantopoulou said today, after a meeting with Cypriot Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris, that as long as Cyprus' indices were in good shape, the country should proceed with reforms that would help it meet the huge demands of the future.

Sarris met today both with Diamantopoulou and former Commissioner for Competition Mario Monti, who had earlier been received by President Tassos Papadopoulos.

Diamantopoulou said that Cyprus acceded to the EU as a country with an exceptional performance in all indices and noted that the big bet for Cyprus is to stay among the champions.

''Cyprus' economic indices are good, and now is the time to make reforms so that it can meet the great demands of the future. Cyprus has the obligation but not the luxury to lead in the political agenda of Europe, not just with its political problem, but with its performance, experience and reforms,'' Diamantopoulou pointed out.

Monti praised Cyprus' economic performance and the adjustability of the Cypriot economy in tackling problems in the tourism sector after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, and also expressed support to the government's efforts to reduce the dependency of the economy on tourism.

He noted that ''Cyprus is displaying figures for its economic performance that we would like to see in many other member states of the EU.''

''The discussions with the President and the Minister were very illustrative on the different efforts being made in particular in order to increase the high level research development and innovation and to give more flexibility and competition to the market as a necessary condition for greater competitiveness and higher value at economic activities,'' he said.

Monti added that ''Cyprus, like all countries, has still progress to make, but it is very encouraging for the EU as a whole to see this country with such a satisfactory overall economic performance and will to still deepen its efforts.''

Sarris said the meeting with President Papadopoulos and the one he had with Diamantopoulou and Monti afterwards were both very useful.

''Employment and competition are issues that concern Cyprus as we move to the next step of our economic development, in our effort to maintain stable and high economic growth and employment rates,'' he added.

Diamantopoulou and Monti will be participating in a public debate tonight on the issues of competition and social cohesion.

Asked about the adoption of the euro by Cyprus, Diamantopoulou said that the participation of a country in the Eurozone has both economic and political significance, noting that the Eurozone ''is probably one of the most powerful clubs in the world with economic and political power.''

She added that social policy cannot be implemented through monetary approaches but through budget and specific policies.

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