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Return to past economic practices 'criminal' -- Fin Min.

Cyprus will exit the bailout adjustment programme in the next months, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Friday, but warned that it would be a crime to return to the practices that put the island in this position in the first place.

Speaking at a conference of public sector workers who belong to SEK trade union, the minister said being in a bailout adjustment programme was not a pleasure, but it was necessary so that the country could get back on its feet.

"I can assure you that in the next months this undesirable but necessary situation will end," the minister said.

However, Georgiades warned that despite the improvement the island was still faced with challenges.

"It would be criminal if at this decisive stage ... the moment when our economy recovers, we returned to the practices and attitudes responsible for its derailment, or if we viewed the first positive signs as an opportunity to prematurely end efforts to create a new competitive economy."

His comments followed the speech of SEK chief Nicos Moiseos, who said the union would defend the interests of its members in every way possible in light of the renewal of collective agreements.

"The main axis is restoring wages and benefits to the period before the economic crisis," he said. "This effort has started to see success since many contracts are renewed with good results."

Moiseos said the union had supported the government during the crisis, and its members helped hundreds of businesses remain alive.

But not all employers recognised this, he added, and everyone was trying to saddle workers with the burden of the crisis.

"It must be understood that workers do not have unlimited potential and the working class cannot shoulder the huge economic burden alone," Moiseos said.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Geographic Code:4EXCY
Date:May 29, 2015
Words:322
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