Cyprus’ National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the blueprint aiming to absorb over €1 billion from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Fund (Next Generation EU), will be submitted to the cabinet next week for approval, Minister of Finance Constantinos Petrides said on Thursday, stressing that structural reforms that come as a condition to the funds’ disbursement should be approved by the parliament.
In statements to the press following a meeting with ruling right-wing DISY party Deputy President and former FinMin Harris Georgiades, Petrides described the National Recovery and Resilience Plan as “the main weapon for the economic counteroffensive for the next five to six years, shaping the economy’s grow model.”
Asked on the conditions for the successful funds’ disbursements, Petrides said the EU has set out two provisions, the approval of the National Plan and compliance with the structural reforms included in the European Commission’s country-specific recommendations.
On the first condition, Petrides said the so far comments made by the European Commission on Cyprus’ national plan “are more than positive concerning the ambitious and holistic plan that complies with the Commission’s requirements over a new growth model that concerns the next generation, as (the EU fund) title implies.”
On the second condition, the structural reforms, Petrides said the implementation of these reforms, that accompany the Fund as conditions “is up to us.”
“Money and funds alone cannot create a new growth model,” the FinMin said, noting that a new economic model is primarily created by structural reforms and that is why the EU Commission insisted that all should be done as a package.
He noted that the government has promoted the majority of the required structural reforms, such as the reform of the Local Governments, the civil service, evaluation systems, the Justice reforms with the bills pending approval in the Parliament.
“How can we speak of a new growth model in a country where contract enforcement takes years and years, due to the lack of justice reform,” Petrides wondered and stressed “If we really care for the future of the country, these reforms, which have no particular political and ideological colour, should at last be approved with consensus.”
Furthermore, Petrides said the government will table the new parliament to be formed following the May 30 elections a bill for the deferral of VAT payments for March, June and July 2021 in a bit to further boost the liquidity of businesses that face challenges due to the continuing Covid pandemic and the restrictions imposed by the government.