articles | 07 July 2015

Cyprus supports Greece in efforts to restructure bailout

President Nicos Anastasiades said recently that Cyprus would stand with Greece in its efforts to achieve the restructuring of its bailout terms in order to make the debt more sustainable.

Speaking to reporters at the presidential palace, Anastasiades said “First I want to point out the absolute respect for the decision of the Greek people, which should not only be respected by us but also by all Europeans, especially European governments. The second thing I have to acknowledge is the positive approach of the (Greek) Prime Minister that the prevalence of ‘no’ does not mean in any way the exit of Greece from the euro.”

Anastasiades said the Greek government was determined to undertake initiatives to achieve an agreement to achieve its objectives, “which should also be targets of Europe”.

Any agreement, he said has to take into account the social consequences, in particular the humanitarian crisis Greece is facing.

“What is needed, in my view at this stage is to consider the unsustainability of the Greek debt,” he said.

“I want to believe that European partners, governments, the Institutions, will do all that is necessary in order to achieve am agreement the soonest that will keep Greece in the EU, keep Greece in the euro and will create prospects to ensure the future better conditions for Hellenism.”

Anastasiades said Cyprus would stand together with Greece in its efforts to achieve restructuring of the terms so that it becomes sustainable.

Asked if after the outcome of the referendum in Greece he had contacted the Greek Prime Minister and other European leaders, Anastasiades said, “I have exchanged messages” through collaborators’ with Mr (Alexis) Tsipras but not with other leaders.”

Cyprus respects the verdict of the Greek referendum but negotiations between Greece and its international lenders must begin again as soon as possible, Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said.

Christodoulides told the Cyprus News Agency: “Everyone’s responsibility is to defend unity and the most important is for the negotiations to start between the Greek government and the institutions that will lead to an agreement on a program the soonest,” he said.

The spokesman later told CyBC radio there was a lot of meetings and phone conversations going on “and hopefully those developments will lead to a resumption of talks”.

“Without the existence of discussions between Greece and the Institutions (Troika), the messages being sent in all directions are not at all positive. So that is where the effort is currently being focused… to resume the talks and to see how we can come up with a programme for the Greek government,” he added.

Forthis work, the spokesman said, negotiations must be initiated immediately.  “It is very important because with every day that passes things get more difficult. Greece is behind schedule so there is no other choice but to come to an agreement ona programme for the benefit of all sides.”

He said the big question that arises from the ‘no’ vote in the referendum was the restructuring of Greek debt; something the spokesman said would now be pressed more strongly by the Greek government.

Christodoulides said that Cyprus had been the only country that supported the Greek government during the European Council meeting, and at the Eurogorup meetings of finance ministers. Asked to comment on the “climate of intimidation” Greek official talked about in the week leading up to the referendum, Christodoulides said: “A lot of things were said but the challenge right now is to leave behind the statements made and concentrate on substance. The bottom line is negotiations need to be resumed that will result in a programme for Greece.”

“Statements and responses to comments do not offer a solution to Greece. The continuation of uncertainty will creates further problems and difficulties in Greece. So we are focusing on this effort right now. We have the verdict of the Greek people and it is fully respected, no one can contest it or diminish its importance. At the same time unity is required at all levels, not only in Greece but also at a European level to address the situation before us today.”

A statement from ruling DISY on Monday said the party respected the vote of the Greek people.

“We welcome the position of the Greek prime minister that the outcome of the referendum is not a message of a rift with Europe, but for a sustainable agreement,” it said.

“It is critical to achieve this as soon as possible in order to stabilise the economy and the financial sector and avoid the worst.”

Opposition DIKO also said the results of the referendum should be fully respected by everyone, “both in Greece and internationally”. The party also urged the Greek people to preserve national unity.

“As the Democratic Party we support Greece and the Greek people and remember with gratitude that it was Greece and the Greek people to whom we owe the accession of Cyprus to the European Union,” said the party.

“At the same time, we reiterate that the Republic of Cyprus and Greek Cypriots need Greece within the European Union and inside the eurozone. At a time when Turkey is trying in every way to join the European family, the potential isolation or removal of Greece would constitute a negative development for the Republic of Cyprus and Cypriot Hellenism.”

EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos, in a written statement said it was time now for a new agreement between Greece and the Institutions and for the latter to demonstrate a willingness and sincerity for a fair agreement that would offer debt sustainability and growth prospects so that Greece can meet its obligations.

“Mostly, it is time to abandon the unilateral policies of austerity imposed in Europe in recent years, which demonstrably produces poverty and misery to the peoples of southern Europe, thus creating a Europe of two, if not many, tiers,” he said.

“It is time the founding principles and values of a united Europe of solidarity and democratic institutions, to overcome the economic and geopolitical interests of the German alliance.”

Source: Cyprus Mail

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