Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides on Tuesday said it was important for Cyprus to be able to utilise the around €3bn for projects and reforms available from the EU’s new multiannual framework and Recovery Fund.
According to the minister, this would affect the country not only today but also for future generations.
He was speaking after discussing the issue with Energy Minister Natasa Pilides and MPs at the House EU and foreign affairs committee.
The discussion centred on Cyprus’ strategic planning for the new programming period 2021 to 2027 for all cohesion policy funds, but also the policy for the recovery plan for the period 2021 to 2026 (Next Generation EU).
Referring to the five policy axes of the Recovery Fund, Petrides said that these are public health and civil protection – Lessons from the pandemic (budget of €78.5m), accelerating the transition to a green economy (€422.5m), enhancing the competitiveness and resilience of the economy (€509.5m), towards a digital age (€95.5m) and labour market, education and human capital (€122.5m).
Petrides said the recovery fund was looking “at how we wanted to change EU economies, increase green investment, increase digitalisation, increase entrepreneurship and whether we wanted to move into a new era.” He added that it was no coincidence that the EU named the recovery fund as Next Generation.
The minister said the discussion with the House committee was “very constructive.”
“We discussed whether with the new multiannual framework of the EU and the EU Recovery Fund, which concern projects and reforms of almost €3bn if one takes into account the national contribution, we will be able to create the Cyprus we want, the Cyprus of the next generations, making the most of it, combined with some reforms and correcting distortions,” Petrides said. The government but also him personally, he said, have from the beginning sought consensus and consultation “and so we will continue to win this national bet, for which future generations will thank us.”
Petrides said that for transparency reasons, with the completion of the approval of the plan by the European Commission, all projects, all schedules and the stage at which their implementation will take place will be available online. That way, he said, there will be “both proper accountability and proper monitoring, both by journalists and by the political world as well as the people.”
On whether this money is in the form of a loan and should be repaid, Petrides clarified that this is not in the form of a loan, they operate as the multiannual framework works, based on the contributions of the member states. “Certainly, our contributions will increase, Cyprus offers about what it gets back, but gradually,” he added.
He explained that the plan as regards the recovery fund is that a lot of funds will be given at the beginning and will be paid through increased contributions as is the case with the multiannual plan, over a long period of time. “That is why terms and conditions are being introduced, reforms are being made,” he said.