telegraph.co.uk / 7:18PM GMT 31 Dec 2012
Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has hit out against the harsh austerity measures being meted out to struggling eurozone members as the Mediterranean island faces a bleak new year.
The communist head of state, who tried repeatedly to avoid the inevitable punishing terms of an EU bailout by seeking credit from Russia, said that the policies imposed by the bloc’s richer members had been counter-productive, AFP reported.
“It must be admitted that policies implemented on a pan-European level have not succeeded in providing a solution to the economic problems created by the crisis,” Christofias said in a televised new year’s message.
“On the contrary, they have recycled and worsened economic and social injustice,” he added.
Resort island Cyprus has already pushed through tough austerity measures to meet the demands of eurozone creditors for more than €1bn in cuts and savings. The four-year adjustment programme represents 7.25pc of gross domestic product.
Parliament has approved public sector salary cuts, a freeze on index-linked wages until 2016, extended emergency salary contributions in the public and private sectors, and increases in duty on cigarettes, alcohol and petrol.