Cyprus relaxes banking restrictions


Cypriots can now cash cheques and have higher limits on transactions. Also in business news: Switzerland will grant 500 Croatian workers access to the country's labour market.

Banking regulations were imposed last year as part of the austerity measures in Cyprus. [AFP]

Cyprus abolished restrictions on cashing cheques, thus lifting the last remaining local capital controls that were imposed about a year ago amid the country's austerity drive. The controls that were lifted were on cashing cheques and limits on transactions.


Greece's government said it expects a budget surplus in 2014. The finance ministry said it forecasts a primary budget surplus of 2.3 percent of GDP, up from previous expectations of 1.5 percent.


Switzerland will grant 500 workers from Croatia access to the country's labour market, with 50 one-year work permits and 450 short-term permits. Swiss voters approved restrictions on immigration in February. The country has now agreed to restart discussions with the EU on its participation in market access.


Albania and Kosovo will have a joint customs terminal to facilitate the transportation of goods, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said. He pointed out that Kosovo's goods exported to Serbia reach their destination within hours, while exports to Albania take two days due to bureaucratic procedures.


Turkey is in negotiations with China on an investment deal worth $10 billion to $12 billion for the Turkish Afsin-Elbistan coal field and power plant project, according to Energy Minister Taner Yildiz. He told Reuters that for the time being Turkey has no plans to be a partner in the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline project, but plans to raise its stake in the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline project from 20 to 30 percent.


The World Bank will lend Croatia 150 million euros to help speed up its recession-hit economy. The money will be used to support the government's efforts to accelerate the economic recovery by consolidating public finances and strengthening the investment climate.


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Cyprus raised 100 million euros in a private bond sale, the island's first move into the markets in three years. The six-year bonds will carry a coupon of 6.5 percent and will be listed on the London Stock Exchange.


The development of economic contacts is the main challenge facing relations between Bulgaria and Croatia, Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski said after meeting with his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanovic in Zagreb. The two officials took part in a business forum where opportunities for strengthening business ties between the two countries were discussed.

(Various sources -- 30/04/14-07/05/14)

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