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Georgiades: we need to get serious (updated)

The future of a state and its people are not secured with nice words and slogans, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Tuesday, warning opposition parties that they were leading the country down a dangerous path.

Commenting on Monday’s developments at the Eurogroup meeting, which failed to strike a deal on Greece, Georgiades said “we must also realise in Cyprus that the dignity and prospects of a state, or a people, are not secured by nice sounding words, slogans, or refusal, but through difficult, but necessary, and correct decisions.”

“We must get serious in Cyprus and finally decide what path to follow,” he added.

Georgiades was referring to opposition parties seeking to score political points by adopting the rhetoric of the new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Opposition parties have already damaged the island’s credibility by suspending a law on foreclosures, a move that prompted international lenders to interrupt the adjustment programme.

The opposition claims it did so to protect crisis-stricken vulnerable groups until the insolvency framework came into force. The government countered that it was unwarranted because the regulations necessary for foreclosures were not in place.

Opposition parties have been accused that in reality they were acting on behalf of large borrowers, developers mainly, using vulnerable groups as an excuse.

Others have suggested that derailing the economy would also serve political aspirations.

“We must understand that one cannot play political games with the economy and a country’s prospects,” Georgiades said. “As long as we refuse to speak or hear the truth, and we resort to a known delusion, we will be digging our grave.”

The minister warned that Cyprus must either act seriously and responsibly or be prepared to face reality at some stage.

Georgiades took flak for his remarks by opposition parties later in the day.

“The Finance minister […] spoke like [German finance minister] Schaeuble,” AKEL said in a statement. “Not only did he admit that he offered no support to Greece’s effort, but once again he derided its demands.”

The Citizens’ Alliance suggested Georgiades was concerned by a potential win by the Greek government.

“Essentially, he admitted that not only did he not support Greece at the Eurogroup summit, but he fully adopted the German rhetoric and argumentation,” the party said. “It seems that the sketch artists that showed the President worried at the prospect of success by the Greek Premier were right, after all.”

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