NICOSIA - -President Christofias has said that the government has driven a hard bargain with its international lenders –IMF, ECB, EC- to reach a bailout agreement that will help the country exit recession and return to growth and it is succeeding in securing workers’ basic rights.
He said that “he hasn`t signed any agreement (with the lenders) so far” , adding that within the week he will address the nation on the issue of the memorandum with the troika.
President Christofias who was addressing an event in Limassol Sunday, stressed that the current economic crisis which has hit Cyprus is a result of exogenous effects, adding that there is an attempt to put the burdens of the crisis on the millions of poor, weak and unemployed EU citizens.
“We give a struggle within the EU to change these policies and we are just beginning to succeed, but there is strong resistance. We have said that we must turn to growth, social cohesion and job creation as a new EU policy, but this is difficult because there are forces within the EU willing to impose neoliberal solutions” , he pointed out.
He reiterated that Cyprus has applied for a bailout because of the problems in the banking sector, which was overexposed to the Greek debt.
The fiscal deficit, he said, could have been reduced only by structural measures and without entering the bailout mechanism.
On the talks with the troika, President Christofias said that “we gave a tough fight to defend the workers’ basic rights and I think we are managing to do so”.
“The cost of living allowance (CoLA) - which automatically alters salaries every six months based on fluctuations in inflation- has been temporarily frozen and the 13th month’s salary remains ‘unscathed’,” he noted.
He also noted that Cyprus’ sovereign rights in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) have been secured, as a result of a “multidimensional” foreign policy followed by the Government and with the support of its neighbors, the UN Security Council and the international community, despite Turkey’s threats.
On the negotiations to reach a solution to the Cyprus problem, President Christofias said that his policies were the only ones that “could save the country”.