News / Europe

Cyprus Presidential Candidate Wary of EU Bailout Terms

Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags wave beside a offshore drilling tower near Famagusta, Cyprus, April 26, 2012.
Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags wave beside a offshore drilling tower near Famagusta, Cyprus, April 26, 2012.
One of the three leading candidates for the presidency of Cyprus in Feb. 17 elections says he would press for renegotiation of a financial bailout, and that outsiders should have no say in how the island manages natural gas finds.
George Lillikas, whom opinion polls put third in the race, said that by securitizing the undersea gas reserves, Cyprus could swiftly extricate itself from onerous terms of aid now under discussion with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
"Cyprus should not be economically dependent on anyone, because states which have an economic dependence have a political dependence, too," Lillikas told Reuters in an interview on Friday.
Cyprus applied for financial aid from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union eight months ago, the prospective allocation of which has been delayed by concerns about how the debt will be repaid and misgivings over the island's financial transparency.
Lillikas, who is running as an independent with support from the small socialist party, is garnering 17-20 percent in opinion polls. The clear favorite is conservative opposition leader Nicos Anastasiades. If elections drag on to a runoff, Lillikas might play the role of kingmaker.
Lillikas has an unyielding attitude on the divided island's long-running conflict, and is scathing about the way authorities have handled the economic crisis.
He appeals to a growing mass of people who have seen their living standards plummet, and is attracting support from many of the record 15 percent of Cypriots who are unemployed.
Offshore gas
Lillikas says Cyprus could swiftly extricate itself from the clutches of lenders if the island made better use of its offshore hydrocarbons wealth. He is also critical of a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU), which, he says, is open to multiple interpretations on how much say lenders will have in telling Cyprus what to do.
"I would want to negotiate all these issues before deciding whether to accept [the MOU] or not," he said. "I cannot accept [that] Cyprus doesn't have any other option. Cyprus does have alternatives."
The island reported its first offshore find of 7-trillion cubic feet of gas, with an estimated current market value of 60-billion euros, in December 2011. It expects gas to come on line domestically in 2018, and export by 2019.
This year, authorities licensed Total, Italy's ENI and South Korea's Kogas to explore for oil and gas, joining U.S. based Noble Energy.
Lillikas wants the future revenues to be utilized in advance. "There are two ways to do it, either by securitization, or pre-selling quantities," he said.
In seeking a say on how Cyprus handles its reserves, lenders could be wading into one of the world's most intractable conflicts.
Turkey, gas-exploration dispute
Turkey, Cyprus's large northern neighbor, openly disputes the island's right to explore for oil and gas. The island was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 which was triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.
The internationally-recognized government in the south of the island is doing the exploring. Turkey has sent gunboats to the area and Cyprus has responded by freezing Turkey's EU energy chapter in negotiations with the EU, one of several on hold because of the Cyprus issue.
Lillikas, who served under an administration which rejected a United Nations reunification blueprint for Cyprus in 2004, says he will go a step further.
"Turkey cannot occupy [northern] Cyprus ... and think that it can achieve admission to the EU, or get a special privileged status with the EU," he said.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Kyriacos Kyriakides from: Cyprus
February 09, 2013 5:40 PM
Your choice of photo displays either ignorance or spite. Either way you manage simply to render the Voice less trustworthy.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs