We stand at a critical juncture, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Christodoulides said Tuesday referring to global challenges, including the pandemic, climate change, cybercrime and extremism, but underlined that both at regional and global level, opportunities for cooperation are endless.

Addressing the Diplomat of the Year Awards, organized for the third consecutive year by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Christodoulides said that world economic activity has been picking-up during 2021, but a number of pandemic-related challenges remained, including supply chain disruptions, inflation pressures and shortage of workers. At the same time, other global challenges are equally pressing, such as climate change, cybercrime and extremism, he noted.

“We, therefore, stand at a critical juncture and are presented with a unique opportunity to rebuild for a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery, in order to safeguard the welfare of our citizens. In doing so, like minded countries must identify new ways to work together to drive these necessary changes more efficiently and more effectively”, the Minister said.

He noted that the EU has adopted the largest stimulus package ever financed in Europe, known as “NextGenerationEU”, foreseen to disseminate 750 billion Euro in loans and grants to Member States, to help them address the economic and social impact of the pandemic and to make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

He said that within this framework, Cyprus has developed an ambitious national Recovery and Resilience Plan, which includes a total of no less than 133 reforms and investments, many of which will focus on the country’s green and digital transition. The Plan, he said, is also aligned with the new long-term strategy for a sustainable growth model for Cyprus, namely “Vision 2035”. “The objective is to strengthen competitiveness of the economy, to improve its resilience to adverse internal and external factors, and to improve the potential for sustainable and long-term development”, he noted.

“At a regional level but also globally, opportunities for cooperation are endless, especially once we realise our collective potential to thrive through collaboration”, Christodoulides noted.

“For diplomats, one of our core roles is to become drivers and facilitators of cross-country cooperation, both on the recovery from Covid-19 and on other transnational challenges. As the world starts to rebuild, we should be focusing on like-minded countries coming together, deepening cooperation in fields such as health, technology, trade and climate change”, he said.

He added that to this effect, Economic Diplomacy can play a role that is more instrumental than ever before and noted that during the last few years further developing Economic Diplomacy has been one of his Ministry’s priorities, in order to promote more effectively the economic and business cooperation of Cyprus with other countries, providing a much-needed boost to our economy.

“As recently as last week, the Council of Ministers approved the Economic Diplomacy Strategy, which defines our strategic approach for the next three years and sets up a cooperation mechanism between all the competent Ministries, for its effective implementation”, he said.

The Minister explained that “the desired impact of the strategy is enhanced economic prosperity from increased trade, foreign direct investment, innovation and national branding through strengthened Government capacity and international influence, maximising benefits from diplomatic activities”.

This, he said, will be pursued through the following strategic objectives:

Contribute to increased exports and market share for the Cypriot business sector.
Attract efficiency-seeking and strategic asset-seeking types of foreign direct investment, which maximise value-added and can trigger innovation spillovers to the economy
Promote a coherent and cohesive brand for Cyprus abroad.

He pointed out that economic diplomacy is implemented in full alignment with the policy axes of the Government and in line with the political priorities of the competent Ministries, as reflected in the Strategic Framework for Fiscal Policy and in the Annual Government Budget.

Concluding, the Minister said that “we are committed to strengthening cooperation with all of you – Ambassadors and all diplomats accredited to Cyprus alike – in an effort to further enhance our economic, political and cultural ties. It is a vision of resilience and sustainability that I know we all share, in our immediate region of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Gulf, in our big family which is the EU, and in the whole world” he said.

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