Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides is confident the tourism industry in the Republic of Cyprus won’t have a catastrophic year following the pandemic, while calling on Europe to step up its recovery plan equally across the board.
In a TV interview with CNBC International this week, Petrides said Cyprus was “almost a pandemic-free country” after managing to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The finance minister said his government was “quite optimistic” regarding Cyprus as a safe travel destination this summer for European tourists, citing incentives and state-wide medical preparedness as well as last week’s announcement by Wizz Air to add Larnaca as a base for seven new country destinations.
But Petrides also warned that a successful way forward was for the European Union to deploy more instruments to ensure economic recovery would not be uneven across the bloc.
“Definitely it is a symmetric shock for Europe, and the EU needs to ensure that this symmetric shock does not turn out to be an asymmetric recovery,” Petrides said.
The finance minister pointed out a need of a more robust recovery plan across the EU, saying more help was needed for certain sectors and geographical areas that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.
“I hope that we will move quickly also at eurogroup level in order to ensure that the financing needs of the countries are properly addressed,” Petrides said, adding that his government’s position would favour grants over financing.
According to foreign media, the 27 member states will need to vote on a European Commission plan to borrow €750 billion from capital markets starting next year to mitigate the financial toll of Covid-19.
Greek Cypriot scientists advising the government have given the go-ahead for the administration to proceed with further relaxation of measures in the south, while Turkish Cypriot health officials in the north have expressed concern that a reopening may backfire on the entire divided island if done prematurely.
The Republic of Cyprus says it has the epidemiological data and solid plans in place to support a reopening of the economy including tourist arrivals next week from list of selected countries based on specific criteria.