The Minister of Finance, Konstantinos Petridis, requests the cooperation of the parties in a letter to the political leaders, in order for them to assist in the operation of the Technocratic Committee, which was established by a decision of the Council of Ministers on 16/12/2020 to formulate the national plan. Development and Competitiveness. Through the plan, which must be submitted to the European Commission by April, Cyprus will claim from the EU € 986 million in sponsorships, as well as an additional possibility of low-interest borrowing, to finance the exit of the economy from the recession caused by the Covid 19 pandemic and the restructuring of the economy in the medium and long term. According to the decision of the Minister, technocrats of the parties will be invited to participate in the Technocratic Committee, in an effort to formulate the final national plan to be, as far as possible, the result of consensual processes.
According to the information of “F”, the government wants to avoid adventures such as those experienced by the country last December, with the vote against the state budget of 2021 and earlier with the withdrawal of the important bill for the provision of state guarantees to companies, to raise cheap loans, amid the difficult conditions of reduced liquidity that prevailed for most of 2020. To ensure the effective participation of party technocrats in shaping the plan, the government extended a hand of cooperation to the parties at the end of December, through a letter from the Minister of Finance to He called on them to appoint a representative of their party to the committee, so that it could meet as soon as possible and get a job, based on a first draft already prepared by competent officials of the Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with their colleagues. in other ministries.
“Aware of the importance of the Development and Competitiveness Plan and the implications that will have in the medium and long term on the Cypriot economy the effective utilization of the resources of the Recovery and Sustainability Mechanism, as well as the tight timetables set by the European Commission for “until April 2021, but also its implementation until 2026, it is considered necessary the contribution and cooperation of all forces in Cyprus in this project,” the minister stressed in his letter. At the same time, he states that many of the suggestions submitted by parties and bodies, during the first exchange of views with all political forces and the social and economic partners, have been taken into account in the preparation of the first draft. Also, Mr. Petridis informs the parties about the establishment of the Technocratic Committee and the role he will take on.
“I hope that the Commission will be able to play a key role in promoting and monitoring the approval of the reforms that will be included in the Plan, many of which require the approval of the House of Representatives,” added Mr. Petridis.
The Technocratic Committee will work with the working group set up by the Council of Ministers last August to prepare the Recovery and Sustainability Plan. It is noted that the working group includes the general managers of the Directorate-General for European Programs, Coordination and Development and the Ministry of Finance or their representatives. A competent source told “F” that some parties have already sent the names of their representatives and deputies to the minister to the committee and the information is expected from the other parties as well. He also said that the first session of the Technocratic Committee will take place later.
The first draft of the Cyprus Development and Competitiveness Plan is based on five policy axes. All the resources raised by the Recovery and Sustainability Mechanism can be harnessed in a wide range of policy areas, such as employment, skills development, education, innovation, health, the business environment, public administration, financial sector, justice, competitiveness, productivity and social issues, with particular emphasis on the digital and green transition.
Following the final agreement reached between the Council of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament on the Regulation on the Recovery Mechanism, it is envisaged that the Member States, by approving their national plans, will receive an advance of 13% of the total amount. allocated to them to ensure the rapid implementation of economic recovery projects. The agreement also stipulates that at least 37% of the cost of any national recovery plan should support climate targets and in particular tackling climate change, while at least 20% of the cost should fund digital transition projects.
The EU Recovery and Resilience Fund aims to sustainably recover from the COVID-19 crisis, address its economic and social consequences, and protect the EU economies in the long term.
What the draft provides
According to information from “F”, the five axes of the draft Recovery and Sustainability for Cyprus are the following:
– Public health, civil protection and lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic.
Accelerate the transition to a green economy.
– Strengthening the resilience and competitiveness of the economy.
– Towards a digital age.
– Labor market, social policy, education and human capital.
It is worth noting that a major innovation of the Recovery Fund is the condition set in the Member States for both a series of investments and other structural reforms, with priority given to long-term growth and resilience of the economy rather than meeting immediate needs.
Cyprus will receive € 968 million from this fund, an amount considered one of the highest in the EU, per capita. Specifically, our country is in 13th place, among the 27 EU members, in terms of total EU grants. In the first phase of the allocation of the Recovery Fund in Cyprus, there is € 764 million (70% for 2021 and 2022) and in the second phase € 204 million (30% until 2023). The Plans will be reviewed and adjusted accordingly in 2022, to take into account the final allocation of resources for 2023.
Party proposals for the plan
The parties have already sent lengthy documents with proposals to the Ministry of Finance for the formulation of the Development and Competitiveness Plan. In fact, months ago, the Minister of Finance had contacts with the leaders of the parties and discussed with them the framework of the national plan, reserving for more detailed cooperation afterwards, something that is now taking shape. Suggestions for the priorities of Cyprus in view of the funding from the Recovery Mechanism were also submitted by the employers' associations, trade unions and other social and economic bodies.
Based on what was made public by the proposals forwarded to the Ministry of Finance, DISY is in favor of implementing policies for the green economy, the modernization of the state, the support of businesses and the transition to the digital age.
AKEL calls for the promotion of the modernization and digitization of the wider public sector, the promotion of green development, the creation of infrastructure for welfare issues, such as the support of infants and the elderly and public transport.
DIKO demands through the Fund to support the middle class, small and medium enterprises, vulnerable groups of the population and employees.
For its part, EDEK calls for policies that will benefit vulnerable groups of the population and businesses affected by the pandemic.
Solidarity proposes, among other things, the diversification of the sources of state revenue, the upgrading of the high educational potential of Cyprus, the universities, the hospitals and the rural development.
The Citizens' Alliance proposes measures that will contribute to the diversification and enrichment of the economic model of Cyprus.
Ecologists have submitted 40 proposals to the ministry, aimed at combining environmental improvement with job creation. Among other things, they propose the creation of a Green Fund, which will result in revenues from the sale of plastic bags and money from the trade of pollutants. It also proposes measures for waste management and measures that will help residents in the highlands and Akamas areas to have income, as well as to support small businesses, crafts and low-income people.