Control Spending, Fight Tax Evasion - Ecofin
Ecofin said it wants Cyprus authorities control government spending and implement performance-based budgeting, as well as fighting tax evasion.
Cooperative banks should also toe the line and comply with the same regulations that retail banks have to, and financial institutions should be more strongly regulated and recapitalised so they can stand external shocks, said Ecofin.
The pension system needs more reforms through increasing the retirement age in line with the increase in life expectancy, according to the recommendations.
Ecofin wants a national healthcare system with a clear timeline and roadmap to ensure universal coverage.
On the labour front, the recommendations are to improve workforce skills and training towards activities of high growth and high value.
Finally, Cyprus has to improve its public sector competitiveness by reforming the wages system to reflect productivity and performance.
Cyprus is in the process of applying for an EU rescue package, and it's likely that Ecofin's recommendations signal the conditions of the bailout. Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly is currently in Brussels for Ecofin's meeting today, and earlier said that it was a special day for Cyprus because it has just undertaken the rotating presidency of Ecofin for the first time.
There's no doubt the finance minister will have his work cut out to manage the country's economic woes and make a fair showing in Ecofin's presidency at the same time.
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