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Cyprus 'will survive' financial crisis

Updated: 2013-04-23 10:26
By ZHAO SHENGNAN in Suzhou, Jiangsu ( China Daily)

Cyprus will overcome the current financial crisis "soon", and "China is one of the countries that can do a lot" in the eastern Mediterranean island country, a senior official of the second-largest party of Cyprus said amid concerns over the downside risks plaguing Europe.

"I believe that, soon, not very soon, but soon, Cyprus will overcome the difficulties. We will survive as a country and an economy," said Venizelos Zannettos, member of the Political Bureau and secretary on economy of the Progressive Party of Working People Central Committee.

He made the remarks on Monday during the fourth China-Europe High-Level Political Parties Forum in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

The remarks also came a month after Cyprus agreed that bondholders, investors and savers with more than 100,000 euros ($130,200) in the European Union member country's two largest and most troubled banks will take significant losses in exchange for a rescue package of 10 billion euros from the eurozone and International Monetary Fund.

Zannettos said his confidence about the Cypriot economy comes from the country's rich natural gas reserves.

"Cyprus is a new energy center in Europe. We found a lot of natural gas, and it is our future, economically," he said.

If government estimates are accurate, Cyprus may be sitting on 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — worth a whopping $400 billion if commercial viability is proven, according to OilPrice.com.

Chinese investment

There have been many Chinese investing in Cyprus' energy sector besides shipping and construction, and Cyprus provides "attractive" tax and policies that will attract more Chinese investors, Zannettos said.

Cyprus the only European nation that offers permanent residency visas to Chinese who buy property worth at least 300,000 euros there. It has sold more than 500 properties to Chinese buyers since May, the Cypriot embassy in Beijing said in December.

"There was a big distance between the Chinese people and the Cypriot people before. But now things have completely changed. The Cypriot people appreciate the Chinese government regarding the political solutions of Cyprus as well as Chinese government and people's efforts to help Cyprus in different ways," Zannettos said.

He also hailed bilateral party-to-party exchanges, saying "it is very important for political forces to establish relations for the benefits of the people".

"I know there were some people who seldom expected to visit China before, but now they changed their mind after seeing how Chinese people are behaving and thinking, and how they are friendly to Cyprus."

Meanwhile, Zannettos urged the Cypriot government to adjust some provisions of the agreement with the EU, even though he agreed the government's economic stimulus that aimed at keeping Cypriots in employment as the massive costs of the bailout deliver a huge blow to the island's economy.

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