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Cyprus

Electioneering turns attention to economy, Turkish visas

DISY leader Averof Neophytou speaking on Sunday

President Nicos Anastasiades’ letter to the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on visas for Turkish nationals, and the government’s announcements on fiscal policy measures, were the main issues on opposition party agendas on Sunday.

Announcing that his party had prepared a number of proposals on the economy, DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos appeared skeptical as to the government’s positive statements earlier in the week on fiscal policy.

“Those who did not have a plan and led us to the haircut, cannot speak of prospects today,” Papadopoulos said. He added that those “who led us to bankruptcy cannot be on the same level with we who left a surplus”.

As regards the Anastasiades sent to the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on the agreement with Turkey on migration and the freezing of the procedure on granting visa-free access to Turks, Papadopoulos said that developments were “worrying”.

He said that the government appeared to be unable to react.

“Such issues are not resolved with letters,” Papadopoulos said. He urged the president to call a National Council meeting.

Echoing Papadopoulos, the head of the Green Party-Citizens Cooperation Giorgos Perdikis, said that despite the fact they agreed with the president’s move, the issue could not be dealt with through “a single letter”.

“An alliance between powerful countries in the European Union against the lobby of [Turkey’s] German friends, is imperative,” Perdikis said.

EDEK’s Marinos Sizopoulos, turned his attention to the finance minister’s announcements on the government’s intention to abolish the special levy imposed on civil servants at the end of the year. He called it “pre-election fireworks”.

To end the contribution, Sizopoulos said, was not up to the government as it needed a change in legislation.

AKEL general-secretary Andros Kyprianou slammed the government for exceeding “the limits of audacity” by announcing ten days before elections a €6 to €20 per month raise for low-income pensioners.

Initially slashing benefits had led to a reduction in the standard of living of pensioners by up to 30 per cent, he said, calling the move to increase it now “crumbs” the state was handing out before elections, which was a humiliation for pensioners, Kyprianou said.

DISY leader Averof Neophytou, answering criticism, expressed bewilderment as to why some quarters were furious with the government, “which received an economy on the brink of bankruptcy and currently records growth”.

Commenting that the opposition was accusing the government of electioneering, Neophytou said just because “we have an election period, should we ban Eurostat from making announcements for economic growth in Europe and the Eurozone?”.

“It is with the maturity of society and the sacrifices of the citizens that we achieved the exit from the memorandum and the positive growth rates, which give us the opportunity to have some surpluses, and the dividend belongs to the Cyprus people,” Neophytou said.

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