NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus plans to contact international lenders on Monday evening to invite them to the island for final talks on a comprehensive aid package for the Greece-exposed island, officials said.
While it was unclear when lenders from the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission would arrive in Cyprus, authorities have said they want a deal with lenders by the Eurogroup meeting on November 12.
“In a short while, we will send the troika the complete proposals of the government and invite it to Cyprus to negotiate the support package to the Republic of Cyprus,” government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou told reporters.
Cyprus, one of the smallest economies in the euro zone, followed Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain in seeking aid from its EU partners in June because of exposure of its financial system to debt-crippled Greece.
Lenders have demanded salary cuts in a public service workforce which is one of the highest paid in the euro zone, pension reform, privatizations and the creation of a “bad bank” which will assume problem debt in the financial system.
Cyprus’s leftist government says it will resist calls for privatizations, and is proposing staggered pay cuts ranging from 6.5 to 12.5 percent in its public sector.
“The package will bear a cost,” Stefanou said. “Our attempt is to make it tolerable, and with the contribution of all to overcome the difficulties we are experiencing now.”
Reporting By Michele Kambas; editing by Ron Askew