“Cypriot authorities are carrying out the reforms set out in the programme with commitment and determination”, Vice-President Olli Rehn, responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs said on Wednesday, on the occasion of the first Activity Report by the Support Group for Cyprus.
According to Rehn, these reforms are helping Cyprus to repair its financial sector, restore healthy public finances and carry out important economic reforms, while protecting the most vulnerable in society.
“The Commission will continue to stand by the Cypriot people, not least through the Support Group for Cyprus, which is a concrete expression of European solidarity”, the Commissioner added.
According to a European Commission announcement, initial technical assistance activities have been financed through the EU budget, notably through the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.
It is added that the Support Group`s focus is now to move projects into the implementation phase and complete the recruitment of three experts, who will be based in the Cypriot administration and will work in the areas of health systems and services, public financial management, and energy markets.
The Support Group`s first activity report, which covers the period September-December 2013, presents the state-of-play of its work in six key policy areas: the budgetary framework and public financial management, revenue administration, immovable property tax reform, the welfare system, healthcare and renewable energy.
The Support Group is helping to shape important reforms in Cyprus, particularly in the areas of revenue administration, the welfare system and healthcare.
The report says that Cyprus is committed to reforming its revenue administration to enhance its tax collection capacity and step up the fight against tax fraud and evasion, through the establishment of an integrated domestic tax department.
Technical assistance for this reform has been provided jointly by the European Commission and the IMF, the announcement says.
Moreover, it is added that government of Cyprus is committed to implementing an ambitious reform of the social welfare system by July 1, 2014.
The Support Group is providing technical assistance in the design of a comprehensive IT system, to support the administration of the reformed welfare system. The system should be in place by May 2014.
In addition, the planned introduction of a National Health System (NHS) presents the Cypriot authorities with an opportunity to modernise and enhance the provision of healthcare services in the country.
The Support Group is assisting in the initial phase of setting up an integrated IT/communication system in the NHS that the country is developing.
The Support Group was launched by European Commission President José Manuel Barroso in March 2013 to coordinate the technical assistance requested by Cyprus in order to help implement specific reforms set out in its economic adjustment programme, alleviate the social consequences of the economic downturn and revive and diversify the economy.
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