Exit from the Memorandum and reshaping the Economy
As AKEL, we consider the search for proposals for the complete disengagement from the Memorandum’s dictates as imperative. As part of this effort we have proposed as a tool for the disengagement from the Memorandum’s shackles and the economy’s recovery, the return to a domestic currency. The introduction of a domestic currency responds to an important problem, namely that of the lack of liquidity in the financial sector. Nevertheless, it requires political and social consensus, within the framework of an orderly procedure for the introduction of a new currency.
Despite our fierce opposition to the Memorandum and the anti-peoples policies that accompany it, we are ready to examine every alternative option that creates prospects for recovery and prosperity for Cypriot society. In this context, we will wage the battle to curb the most anti-peoples, anti-worker and anti-development provisions of the Memorandum given the current conditions.
We struggle against the Anastasiades government’s reluctance to pursue an assertive policy towards the Troika. Indeed, in many cases the government indeed appears as more “Troikanist” than the Troika itself.
At the same time, we focus our attention on the protection of workers’ rights and the welfare state for a fairer distribution of economic and social burdens.
The Cyprus economy and the prospects for growth
The global financial crisis, the problems of the banks on a global but also national level, as well as the economy’s long-standing structural weaknesses contributed to the creation of extremely difficult conditions for the economy recently. The decisions, however, taken overnight between Anastasiades and the Eurogroup have in effect changed the structure of our economy and sharpened social conflicts and poverty.
A fundamental prerequisite for the country to be able to return on a path of growth is the consolidation of the banking sector through stricter monitoring and the enforcement of corporate governance rules and the reform of its character so that the support to the real economy can be restored. The economy’s recovery and implementation of policies for growth cannot be achieved without financial resources.
What the country needs and requires today is a progressive alternative proposal for an exit from the crisis. The main goal is a new economic model, which will be based on a sound fiscal policy, in line with a multilevel economic development and social cohesion with the use of private initiative and the social character of a significant part of the economy.
Fundamental parameters for reshaping the economy
• Preservation of the social character of the public utility organisations and their immediate prudent management, restructuring and modernization so that they shall operate more effectively and constitute the backbone of development/growth and the further strengthening of public finances.
• Economic policy will continue to have SME’s at the centre of its attention, through the provision of incentives for development and specialized support programs and access to funding.
• A new agricultural reform is needed with the farmer at the heart of green growth and new, radical trading methods. Integrated rural development to promote and utilize all economic, social, cultural and environmental comparative advantages that characterize it.
• Significant strengthening of the efforts in the field of research and innovation to assist researchers increase their potential for drawing more funds. The sectors to be promoted should primarily be associated with the prospects for economic and social development.
• Proper utilization of the natural gas, which can create opportunities for attracting investment and create new jobs through infrastructure development and the construction of a Natural Gas Liquefaction Terminal. At the same time, the advent of natural gas will bring a sharp decline in the cost of producing electricity and will help develop new sectors in processing industries and export derivatives and the installation of high energy consumption industries in Cyprus.
• Enrichment and implementation of a strategy for Tourism, so that Cypriot tourism provides better and more quality, acquires an identity and addresses the problem of seasonality.
• Elaboration of a strategy to support and develop industrial production.
• Investment in new forms of cooperative economy.
• The Cooperative sector has already lost its substantial social and economic character. In reality, it has been converted into a state commercial bank, leaving the people to a great extent at the mercy of banking capital. It is imperative that we fight to restore its original character.
• Development in the areas of shipping, legal, financial, advisory and other services utilizing the European status of Cyprus, our country’s geographical position, advanced technical infrastructure and highly skilled workforce.
• Upgrading the policy to attract investment in the productive sector. Enormous opportunities exist in the areas of Research, Innovation, Digital Technology, Health and Education.
• Continuous improvement of productivity through technological upgrading, improve the technical management of Cypriot enterprises and continuous training of working people.
• Strengthen the welfare state and support of vulnerable strata of the population.
• The state and society as a whole should focus on combating unemployment through the creation of new, high quality and dignified jobs for the integration or reintegration in productive activity.
• Protection of work and respect for labour institutions and of the labour relations model that we have in Cyprus, which is based on social consultation and the institution of collective bargaining and collective agreements.
• Reconstruction of social policy aiming at the fairer redistribution of national income, the fight against poverty and social exclusion and support of socially vulnerable groups of population.
• Formulation of a unified national housing policy. Cuts in expenditure on housing policy, particularly in relation to the refugees, restricts the possibilities for acquiring housing for a large section of the population.
• Introduction of measures and policies to alleviate households and small and medium enterprises burdened by excessive debts (interest rate, charges, non-confiscation of first residence).
• Defence of the social character of the Health, Education, Sports and Culture sectors. Ensure free access to health and education. Speed up the implementation of the National Health Scheme.
AKEL counter-proposes policies for growth to the austerity policies and deep recession in order to create the preconditions for new, quality and dignified jobs. Faced with the deregulation of the labour market and the shrinking of the welfare state it counter-proposes policies to enhance the welfare state and support the popular strata and the vulnerable groups of the population.
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
- Feb26 2015-02-26
- Nov13 2014-11-13