Without mentioning he authorized seizing 47.5 percent of bank accounts over 100,000 euros ($113,867) when he first took office in 2013, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said he had to make tough calls he said put the country on the road to recovery after a 10-billion euro ($11.39 billion) international bailout.
The rebound has largely been driven by successive tourism seasons as he told the Invest Cyprus annual general meeting his government had achieved 4 percent growth, fiscal surpluses, cut unemployment to 7 percent and boosted the credit rating.
It was done as well on the back of austerity and nearly wiping out savings of many who put their life savings in banks that created a fiscal crisis with big holdings in Greek bonds that were devalued 74 percent and bad loans to Greek businesses.
No bankers were held accountable as he promised, nor has he helped, as promised, many of those hurt by the bank confiscations and as the country has been accused of selling Golden Visas offering EU passports to rich foreign investors, some said to have dubious backgrounds.
Instead, Anastasiades, easily re-elected this year despite a furor of the bank confiscations and the closing of Laiki Bank, talked about the economic numbers of recovery, said Kathimerini Cyprus.
“To achieve these results, we had to take bold decisions, many of which had a high political cost, which we did not weigh,” Anastasiades said.
Those included, he said, consolidating public spending, tax incentives to boost growth and attract investments but said he’s been unable to cut red tape despite structural reform which haven’t worked to deal with bureaucracy.
“Red tape constitutes one of our country’s greatest disadvantages. I hope the political powers will understand that leaps are necessary and that we need to reform the public service in an effective way,” Anastasiades said.
“We are focusing on addressing problems of vulnerable groups of the population with additional social welfare measures for a fairer distribution of wealth, achieved through the cooperation of public and private sector,” he said without providing any details or specifics.
Angelos Gregoriades, President of the Cyprus Investment Funds Association, said investment funds in Cyprus have increased by 70 percent while funds under management reached 5.7 billion euros ($6.49 billion,) an increase of 90 percent in the past few years.