By George Psyllides
Cyprus will work to prevent Greece’s exclusion from international markets and financial assistance programmes, finance minister Harris Georgiades said on Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday’s critical eurogroup meeting.
“We must prevent this eventuality and Cyprus’ efforts will focus on this direction,” Georgiades said.
“We will be supporters without expecting anything in return.”
The new Greek government wants to ditch its bailout programme – or part of it at least – putting it at odds with its EU partners. Some analysts have suggested that Greece would have no choice but to leave the common currency with whatever that would entail.
Georgiades added that Cyprus was following its own course, which is already yielding results.
“We are looking at the examples of countries like Ireland, which has implemented its own programme with success and today it is the economy with the highest rate of growth in the entire EU,” he said.
The finance minister said Cyprus knew what to do to recover and “I hope that Greece, through its own decisions and those of the Eurogroup will be able to move towards a similar prospect.”
Georgiades said the fastest way to get rid of the Troika (European Commission, IMF, ECB) was to restore the island’s access to international markets.
“An objective, which is fully feasible.”
The minister took a shot at opposition parties whose insistence in suspending the law on foreclosures has deprived Cyprus of an €86 million tranche and dealt a blow to its credibility.
The suspension of the assistance, credibility and inability to utilise important tools like the ECB’s quantitative easing programme should be of concern, the minister said.
“We want to be able to exploit opportunities the moment they appear and not be led into fresh problems without reason and because of undue approaches,” Georgiades said.
Opposition parties claim the suspension of the foreclosures law was the government’s fault for not submitting the insolvency framework – legislation seen as a safety net for vulnerable groups – in time.
The government says foreclosures could not go ahead anyway due to the lack of the necessary regulations, which are yet to be drafted.
Observers view the opposition’s move as a populist tactic, which, at the same time, provides protection to big borrowers, mainly developers.