A taskforce for Cyprus
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PUBLISHED  01:46 March 25, 2013

Barroso calls for solidarity, growth prospectives

By Alia Papageorgiou

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In the midst of the regular midday briefing which occurs most working days in Brussels, unless a summit or other exceptions appear the President of the European Commission appeared to give a brief roundup of the Eurogroup meeting held the day before 24 March and to announce a taskforce for Cyprus.

The taskforce will be tasked with looking into the social, and economic repercussions of the Cyprus bank bailout and look for ways to support this small economy.

"This bailout has been unprecedented in that the amount offered is 55% of the Cypriot GDP, making this the largest bailout comparitively but it is at the same time a small economy," President Barroso said.

He called on Member States to show solidarity to Cyprus to invest, a few 'small investments' would help this small economy tremendously and to not turn their backs on the Cypriot people.

'We were very close to Bankruptcy", Barroso said.

The taskforce will be based in Brussels and have an office in Nicosia and will be reporting to the EU and Cypriot government quarterly, reviewing and showing them best practices for growth, competitiveness and social stability.

"We want to alleviate the social consequences of the economic shock by mobilising funds from European Union instruments and by supporting the Cypriot authorities' efforts to restore financial, economic and social stability. We will bring in further expertise to facilitate the emergence of new sources of economic activity. The Commission stands by the Cypriot people," Barroso said.

It will be overseen by Economic and Monetary Affairs,  Euro Commissioner and Vice President of the European Commission Olli Rehn.

On the same day Commissioner and Vice President Michel Barnier also discussed the Cypriot bailout with journalists saying that he had no qualms about the decision reached in the Eurogroup meeting on 24 March as it was 'better than going bankrupt'.

 The bailout, in its final version comes on the timely day which celebrates Greek Independence, Karolos Papoulias, the Greek President called the Cypriot bailout good but failing in its purpose as it is drawn up to be very 'selective'.

Sony Kapoor Managing Director of Re-Define an economic think tank had said last week to the press that, "It is nothing short of scandalous that five years into the crisis, the EU still does not have a law on bank restructuring, something that should have been priority number one. Had such a law been on the books the Cypriot story would have had a more benign ending."

Lessons from the economic crisis yet to sink in perhaps.

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