Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Euro­pean Union was pre­par­ing to open its doors to Turkey’s ac­ces­sion am­bi­tions, but Ankara was not sure if the cost of mem­ber­ship was worth the sac­ri­fices it would have to make, the Fi­nan­cial Mir­ror re­ported in is­sue 599, on De­cem­ber 15, 2004.

Ahead of the decision on the start of EU ac­ces­sion talks, Turkey it­self is de­bat­ing the mer­its not of mem­ber­ship it­self, but whether the con­ces­sions that need to be made are worth it and whether the Union is in­deed sin­cere, fol­low­ing the dis­cus­sions about “con­di­tions”, such as the recog­ni­tion of the Repub­lic of Cyprus, while Turkey has also made it clear it will not ac­cept this, even in a de facto man­ner.

In the fi­nal up­date to the May 2004 Con­ver­gence Pro­gramme, the gov­ern­ment stuck by its in­ten­tion to meet the Maas­tricht euro cri­te­rion for the bud­get in 2005, with a bud­get deficit of 2.9% of GDP and to adopt the euro “if pos­si­ble in 2007”. How­ever, since Fi­nance Min­is­ter Makis Ker­avnos has an­nounced that the gov­ern­ment does not plan to ap­ply for ERM II un­til the first or sec­ond quar­ter of 2005, adop­tion in 2007 is in fact un­likely.

The Health Min­istry an­nounced that amounts of con­tam­i­nated lountza meat, pis­ta­chio nuts and dried apri­cots were be­ing re­called from the mar­ket, warn­ing con­sumers to stay clear. Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Timis Efthymiou slammed the state vet ser­vices for “in­cred­i­ble” neg­li­gence and de­lays in track­ing down and go­ing pub­lic with the prob­lem.

Cyta said it does not plan to rush with the in­tro­duc­tion of third gen­er­a­tion (3G) mo­bile phone ser­vices, cit­ing the lack of prod­ucts in the mar­ket. Ri­val new­comer Areeba said it would launch its own 3G ser­vice on De­cem­ber 20.

A record num­ber of 5600 Cypriot in­vestors have opened trad­ing ac­counts in Greece and un­til the end of Novem­ber 2004 held EUR 1.8 bln or 5.88% of the mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of the stocks listed on the Athens Ex­change. CSE Chair­man Akis Clean­t­hous said in his ap­peals to par­lia­ment that tax in­cen­tives be given to lo­cal and for­eign­ers on mu­tual funds to at­tract in­ter­est.

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