Former President of the Eurogroup Jean –Claude Juncker admitted today that would he have been the chairman when the decisions were taken on Cyprus economy, the situation “would have been handled in a different way”.

Juncker on Thursday had a meeting with the President of the House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou who is paying a two-day working visit to Luxembourg.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, Juncker said that he takes a great interest in what is happening in Cyprus given the fact that he, as a Chairman of the Eurogroup, had to deal with the Cyprus problem and was preparing the decisions, which were finally taken in March 2013.

“Would I have been in the chair, it would have been handled in a different way”, he noted.

He went on to say that he was informed by the House Speaker on the living conditions of the Cypriot citizens, the situation of the banking sector as well as the division of the island, recalling that Luxembourg supported Cyprus and its EU accession.

“It was a fruitful and very interesting meeting and I was happy to have the Cypriot Chair of the Parliament as a special guest today”, he said.

Cypriot House President, who earlier met with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Laurent Mosar, noted the significance of Juncker’s statement as regard the Eurogroup decisions on Cyprus last March.

He welcomed the long-lasting stance on behalf of the Prime Minister, which, he stressed, is based on the European principles of solidarity and social inclusion.

Cyprus requested and received a €10 billion financial assistance package from the Troika (EC, ECB, IMF) which featured a sizeable reduction of the island`s banking sector, as well as bail-in of uninsured deposits.

Under the aid package agreed in March, Cyprus closed one bank, the Laiki Bank, whereas deposits over 100,000 euros held at the island’s biggest lender, Bank of Cyprus, lost 47.5% of their value, after being converted into bank shares.

Omirou also expressed his gratitude for Luxembourg’s position on the Cyprus issue, recalling that during the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2005, initiatives had been taken for the return of the fenced-off city of Famagusta to its legal inhabitants.

House President also said that during the meeting with the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Chamber he underlined the role that the EU can play in view of the scheduled resumption of the Cyprus talks. He noted that the EU must have a more active contribution, given the fact that Cyprus is an EU member and its occupied territories are in fact European.

Omirou stressed that a diplomat from the EU, a former Prime Minister or Minister who has status, is impartial and objective should be appointed as a special envoy to monitor the talks and safeguard that the provisions of the solution are based on the international law and the acquis communautaire.

He also said that the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy who was recently in Cyprus, has a positive view on this position.

Cyprus, an EU member since 2004, has been divided after the Turkish invasion of 1974. Several UN backed talks have yet to yield results. A new round of negotiations is set to start in the upcoming months with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.

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