The euro is an important achievement that consolidates European unity.
Proof of this is its recent use as an effective tool to deal with the collective effort against the pandemic.
Twenty years ago, the euro was introduced as the currency for 12 member states.
Today 19 countries are members of the Eurozone, including Cyprus, which joined on January 1, 2008.
It is worth remembering this date along with our EU accession on May 1, 2004. Both dates are milestones in Cyprus’ recent history.
The euro, one of the world’s hard currencies, has contributed to stabilising the exchange rate of the countries using it.
At the same time, it has simplified transactions, facilitated business activities and travel among Europeans.
As a services hub and an important tourist destination, Cyprus has gained a lot since the euro was adopted.
The past two decades have been tumulus for the euro.
During the great financial and banking crisis, its weaknesses came to the surface. Consequently, new decisions had to be adopted to create a banking union that would supervise banking institutions under the authority of the European Central Bank.
As a result, the euro emerged more stable and ready to contribute to Europe’s economic growth.
Today, the EU and its member states face the SARS Covid-19 pandemic.
Once more, there is a need for deeper cooperation among member states to secure a common fiscal policy.
An important step taken towards this direction is that the EU promoted common extra funding for the member states through the Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF) with Angela Merkel’s and Emanuele Macron’s leadership.
This was an extremely important solidarity initiative, which met the immediate needs arising from the pandemic, such as the loss of wages and income.
Moreover, this will set a good precedent for future growth if member states effectively utilise the funding opportunities.
The RRF will provide Cyprus with an additional €1.4 bln by 2026 – over and above the established 7-year EU funding through Structural Funds.
This is vital as it provides a development boost to overcome the pandemic and restructure our economy as we turn towards the green and digital transformation of the future.
We need an active business community, the contribution of all working people, and cooperation among social partners to achieve healthy and sustainable growth, which will not increase inequality but instead effectively reduce it.
The recent initiative that the French and Italian heads of government, Macron and Mario Draghi, appear to have revised the Eurozone fiscal rules is another step towards this direction.
Today, Cyprus sits at the same table as the Eurozone group.
Our course within the EU lies with all those who want and are willing to move towards common goals, with solidarity and consolidation of the rights of the Union’s citizens.
Cyprus can respond effectively to this challenge by regaining its credibility and consistently serving these extremely important European objectives.
By Achilleas Demetriades https://achilleas.eu