ATHENS HAS PUSHED SOUTHERN CYPRUS OFF THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF
According to Eurostat, second highest rise in unemployment took place in Southern Cyprus following Greece Greek Cypriots who believed what they were told by Athens and Southern Cypriot politicians have for decades awaited the disaster to be brought on by Turks. This fear has been kept alive for years, but nothing has happened. The Turks have not done anything. Yet there is a disaster. The great surprise did not originate from the north, but from the west. The bankrupt Greek economy is dragging Southern Cyprus rapidly after it. According to Eurostat, the official statistics agency of the European Union, unemployment in Southern Cyprus rose from 9 percent in November 2011 to 9.3 percent in December. According to data conveyed in detail by the Southern Cypriot press, the unstoppable rise in unemployment hits the youth first. Even if they are educated, the young people in Southern Cyprus cannot get jobs. Unemployment among those younger than 25 years has reached 25.8 percent in Southern Cyprus. The unemployment figure for the same age group for the European Union as a whole is 9.9 percent. In the Eurozone, it is 10.4 percent.This shows that unemployment in Southern Cyprus is becoming chronic and that it will be a long time before the problem is solved. On the other hand, due to its dynamics and present circumstances, the Southern Cypriot economy is not expected to diminish the stock of unemployment.The primary reason for the increasingly difficult predicament of the Southern Cypriot economy is seen as the present economic situation of Greece. The Southern Cypriot economy which had to previously lose its reputation as a haven for money laundering under pressure from the European Union and therefore experienced difficulties is now about to become the victim of Athens which is carrying out one reform after another in order to stay afloat.The rapidly contracting economy and very high level of instability in Greece effects Southern Cyprus. A migration of the unemployed from Greece to Southern Cyprus could block the Cypriot labour market. Furthermore, the chain of bankruptcies expected in Greece could cause heavy damage to finance institutions based in Southern Cyprus.That the Fileleftheros newspaper published in Southern Cyprus should report on these developments under the headline “Crisis in Greece Increases Unemployment in Cyprus” points to the same possibility. The newspaper has reported that Yorgos Oksinos, the General Director of Agency for the Development of Human Dynamics has told the parliamentary finance committee that the negative conditions in Greece will contribute to unemployment in Southern Cyprus.Meanwhile, since DISI Party Deputy President Averof Neofitu has said “it is certain that a wave of workers will come from Greece to Cyprus”, Greek Cypriots might more appropriately worry about a wave of unemployed Greeks rather than a wave of invading Turks they feared for nothing for decades. Of course this development alone will not lead to “Grecophobia”. Neither will it end the “Attila Syndrome”. However it seems that just as in Greece, where it paid the greatest cost in its history in Euros and in cash, Europe which feared the poor Turks, will once more undergo a strong challenge in Southern Cyprus.