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European Commission receives Cyprus’ Eurozone application
2007-02-15 11:47:30

Brussels, Feb 13 - The European Commission has received Cyprus’ official application to join the Economic and Monetary Union on January 1, 2008.

EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia's spokeswoman, Ms. Amelia Torres, said that all standard EU procedures and timeframes will be followed for Cyprus’ application.

The European Commission will examine Cyprus’ application based on the Maastricht criteria and will then submit to the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) its recommendation report, in mid May. The same procedure will be followed by the European Central Bank.

Both reports will then be examined by the EU Ministers of Finance who will make their own recommendation to the EU leaders.

Mr. Torres also said that the final decision will be taken at the European Council in Brussels in June. The next stage will be the irrevocable fixing by ECOFIN of the exchange rate, based on which the Cyprus pound will enter the Eurozone.

Cyprus Minister of Finance Michalis Sarris said Cyprus' official application was an important step towards the Eurozone.

He added: ''In response to this application we expect that the EU and the European Central Bank will evaluate Cyprus in March and April as regards readiness to join the Eurozone.''

He then pointed out the necessity for Cyprus to show the same zeal, determination and effectiveness in 2007 and 2008 as it had in 2005 and 2006, in order to continue to fulfill the Maastricht criteria.

''Based on current data, we fully meet the criteria,'' Mr. Sarris stressed, before adding that the Government was sure that accession to the Eurozone would bring significant benefits to households and businesses, interest rates and inflation would remain low, there would be easier access to European capital markets, there would be price transparency, there would be no exchange rate and exchange risks would be obliterated.

Mr. Sarris also said the government was not concerned over the possibility of devaluation of the Cyprus pound, noting that ''it has shown great stability for the past 15 years.''

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