NICOSIA - The President of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, said Tuesday that Cyprus was going through a very difficult period and that efforts were being made to find lasting solutions to the financial problems and implement measures with direct impact.
Speaking during a visit to the University of Cyprus, van Rompuy said the Cypriot government took the inevitable and right decisions, and expressed hope that growth would return and employment would grow as of the year 2015.
"The main issue is that I have come here to listen, to listen to the concerns, to the worries of the young people, of the professors, of the University, to have a better knowledge of what is happening here in Cyprus, and I came here not to lecture, not to teach. My first aim is to listen," he said.
Invited to comment on the high rates of unemployment among young persons, van Rompuy noted that "we are looking together with the Cypriot authorities for lasting solutions."
"We know that we are going through a very difficult period but we have to correct some mistakes of the past. But in the meantime, the EU is doing whatever it can to support also young people. That is why we decided on a new budget of €200 million for 2014 and 2015, and on top of that I hope that Cyprus can benefit from the youth employment initiative we launched with the European Council and the European Commission, and we are providing €8 billion all over Europe for projects for helping young people to get to work again as soon as possible," van Rompuy said.
He added that "we are working on lasting solutions so that the economy is on a more stable footing for the future and in the meantime we are working on measures with direct impact."
Replying to other questions, van Rompuy said "the situation is extremely difficult but I think that the Cypriot government took the inevitable and the right decisions."