The European Commission gave the green light to Cyprus’ €1.2 billion National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the disbursement of which will begin this year and will complete in 2026.
Speaking during a joint press conference in the iconic library of the University of Cyprus, both European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as well as Cyprus President said the plan is ambitious and has a balanced mix of reforms and investments.
She said that 41% of the Plan’s fund are allocated to Europe’s Green Deal implementation and 23% to digitisation.
“It is very well balanced in reforms and investments, addressing the key structural challenges that Cyprus is facing,” von der Leyen said, adding the plan clearly meets the demanding criteria jointly set by the Council and the European Parliament.
She however noted that the approval of the Plan is not “the end of the journey but the beginning.”
“Now implementation, implementation, implementation, a lot of work, wonderful work because it is creative, it is innovative, it is future oriented, we stand by your side, because your success will be our success, a European success,” she said.
Following the Commission’s approval, the Plan will have to be approved by the Council of the EU following which the first instalment will be granted, she said.
Replying to a comment, von der Leyen said that disbursements are associated with milestones of reforms.
“This is the reason why we all want to show responsibility to meet the milestones to meet the targets with the implementation so to prove to all of us that delivery on the ground, to make it possible” she said.
In his remarks, President Anastasiades described today’s approval as historic “as the approval of the plan ‘Cyprus Tomorrow’ essentially marks the commencement the support of Cyprus by the European Recovery and Resilience Fund.”
He described Cyprus’ plan as ambitious and realistic, adding that it does not only have to do with tackling the Covid pandemic’s impact on the economy “but the implementation of a new vision for our country.”
As he noted that total impact on the Cyprus economy by the funds of the Recovery Plan, the EU’s Cohesion Funds and the private investment to be mobilised by the implementation of the plan will reach €4.4 billion
The implementation of the Plan will add 7 percentage points to Cyprus’ GDP growth while it will create 11,000 jobs he said.
“The Plan ‘Cyprus Tomorrow’ includes 58 crucial but absolutely necessary reforms and 76 investment actions, constituting the biggest reform and development intervention since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus,” he added.
Responding to a question whether the Plan disbursement will be affected by the infringement procedure launched by the EU Commission against Cyprus due to the now defunct Cyprus Investment Scheme, von der Leyen said the infringement procedure is completely separate from the Recovery Plan.
“We are very happy that for the future you said you will stop these procedures, where we still have an issue is with the ongoing ones (the examination of pending applications) but this is a bilateral issue, we will sort it out,” she said, adding “there are rules in the EU for each and every member state, there are tools to deal with issue we have but it is independent of the Recovery and Resilience plan.”