Cyprus will overcome its existing economic woes soon because it is a young country with the potential to grow, former Irish Prime Minister John Gerard Bruton told The Cyprus Weekly.
“I believe very strongly that demography is destiny. I understand that Cyprus has the highest projected population growth in Europe between now and 2016,” he said.
“This is a young country with the potential to grow; Ireland is second best on population growth. And a country that is young, that has young people that are anxious to work, who are English speakers, will overcome these problems,” he added.
Bruton was the main speaker this week at a University of Cyprus lecture entitled “Ireland - Cyprus: Our journey towards economic and social renascence”.
He said that during a financial crisis brains leave the country for a while as it also happened in Ireland. “But they come back,” he added.
He then referred to an OECD study which argues that – looking 10 years into the future - there will be a labour shortage in Europe because most of the productive workers in Germany and in those counties doing economically well now will have retired. And they will not have been replaced.
“Whereas in Ireland and in Cyprus young labour will continue to grow and it is the young people that create wealth.
“Wealth is created by human ingenuity and it is principally created by human ingenuity of relatively young people. I mean, the biggest scientific breakthroughs are usually made by people between the ages of 30 and 40.”
On the harsh economic bailouts imposed on both Ireland and Cyprus by the Troika, he said that people need to understand that problems dealt with are ‘huge’ and ‘global’.
“Therefore we need global help. Not just in the form of money but also in the form of expertise.
“But what is important is that Cyprus should take the view that the best people to know the problems of Cyprus are in Cyprus. And Cypriots shouldn’t be afraid to put forward their own ideas to achieve the goals that have been agreed.”
They should argue very strongly for those views with the Troika but in private - not in public.
And not to suggest in public of any possibility that the agreements will not be honoured, because that would be bad news and a disastrous approach.
He said it’s important that each of the targets set are achieved.
“In Ireland’s case, these have been achieved so far. As well as in the Cyprus case, you have achieved it too; the first review was very favourable.
“As far as fiscal policy is concerned implementation is very good. It did have something to say about structural reforms which you need to take seriously.”