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Cyprus Needed “Drastic Reforms”

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said the country had to endure the tough terms of an international bailout to return to recovery.

Cyprus is exiting its bailout deal with its lenders 10 weeks early and Anastasiades, who reneged on a campaign promises in 2013 not to allow confiscation of bank accounts, said the deal, which brought in 10 billion euros ($11 billion) in loans, was necessary.

He said the strict conditions of the bailout package meant that necessary reforms to the banking sector, fiscal policy and state-run enterprises were made, rather than being blocked in Parliament, despite the cost to Cypriots and as he still hasn’t gone after bank managers who created the crisis as he promised to do.

“Cyprus needed drastic reforms …. It was our obligation to face the crisis,” he told CNBC via a translator.

By adhering to the demands set, Cyprus in 2015 posted 1.4 percent growth after three years of a tough recession left it reeling. Another 1.5 percent growth is seen this year and two percent for 2017.

“We have contradicted all negative forecasts, all negative projections … we restored the credibility of our state and also of the banking sector,” Anastasiades told CNBC.

In future economic crises, countries should focus on reforms that curtail state excesses without harming society’s poorest members, he added, although Greece is still struggling to do that.

“Strict austerity policies do not help if we ignore social cohesion or repercussions on vulnerable groups,” Anastasiades said.

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