EU Monetary Commissioner says Cyprus' economic situation is positive
Nicosia, Nov 30 - Cyprus’ economic situation regarding the fulfillment of the Maastricht economic criteria for entering the Eurozone is a positive one, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia has said. But he also warned that this course must continue during the next crucial months, before the European Council of June 2007 decides on Cyprus’ accession to the Euro zone set for January 2008.
“Regarding the fulfillment of the economic criteria, so far the evolution of Cyprus is a positive one and I hope that this situation will continue to be a good one. in the spring as well”, Mr. Almunia also said in statements at a press conference in Nicosia on the sidelines of the conference ''EMU Governance and Euro Changeover: Cyprus on the Path to the Adoption of the Euro'', organised by the European Commission and the Republic of Cyprus.
He noted that he can not prejudge the decision of the heads of state and government of the EU – 25 in June, regarding Cyprus, since he is still not aware of the content of the Commission’s convergence report.
''Slovenia for sure will join in 2007, some other member states could join in 2008, and we have now two candidates, that we will need to assess in the spring of 2007 and these two countries are Cyprus and Malta”, Almunia said, adding that it is still not sure if they will be able to enter the Euro zone, since they have to be assessed next spring as to whether they fulfill the economic criteria for accession.
Mr. Almunia added that the final decision will be taken by the EU Council of June 2007 that will base its decision on the Commission’s report in May 2007.
“My message is clear. The final decision will be taken in June 2007 by the EU Council. We will need to send the proposals to the EU Council in May and our assessment will take place in this moment about the fulfillment of the criteria. We will publish next week a convergence report that is transitional; it is not the final one. The final one will take place in May before the decisions that the EU Council should adopt in June 2007 for Cyprus and or Malta joining the Euro in 2008”, he explained.
The Commissioner added that “this assessment in May and the decision in June will be the final one. I can not anticipate the decision of the leaders because I can not anticipate our assessment next spring. But things are going in the good direction”.
He also said that the work will not end the day Cyprus will join the Euro, on the contrary, the accession to the Eurozone is “a very demanding situation”.
Mr. Almunia called upon the Cypriot authorities to preserve the very good macroeconomic situation, to improve and strengthen the practical arrangements for a successful change over and the communication efforts.
Cyprus Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris said that he interprets the Commissioner’s statements as “encouraging ones, in order to help Cyprus continue its stable path”.
“Our efforts now", Mr. Sarris added, “focus on the continuation of the fulfillment of the Maastricht criteria, which Cyprus now fulfills. We will also do our utmost so that Cyprus continues more intensively the information of the public, so that any doubts turn into enthusiasm.”