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22° Nicosia,
16 September, 2019
 
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Game Changer

The time has come for big decisions along with a change in the Cypriot mindset

Andreas Paraschos

Andreas Paraschos

President Anastasiades was on a long drift in the ocean and on the stage of international diplomacy but luckily he was rescued at the last moment.

Unlike Jonah in the Bible, it wasn’t a big fish that rescued the wandering president. He was saved once again by the bearer of the name ‘Glafcos’, which also happens to be the offshore field in Cyprus EEZ’s Block 10 believed to hold 5-8 tcf of natural gas. The discovery has put the smiles back on government faces after being wiped off recently following the ‘Delfini’ drilling.

Predictions about a possible mammoth find in Block 10, similar to the Egyptian ‘Zhor’, were one of the reasons why President Nicos Anastasiades got ahead of himself, based on what was being said by those surrounding him in the government.

A no-nonsense official, who confirmed what I had found out, told me on Thursday that “it is a good thing that the find was not mammoth but modest, not because we would automatically switch to wearing djellaba attire but because Turkey’s ongoing ‘Blue Homeland’ naval exercise could have possibly taken a turn.”

These companies would never put up with banks that perform tricks, bankers who destroy entire hard drives, and executive boards with a sleight of hand found in third-world flea markets

There are three aspects in such maritime operations according to military experts. The first one is operational readiness, the second is boosting the morale of the people and armed forces, and the third has to do with sending a message to the enemy. In this case, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Egypt.

The message Ankara wanted to send was that Turkey has a dominant role in the region, mirroring a quote by Kemal Ataturk who said “armies, your first goal is the Mediterranean.” But now, following the accouchement of the results in Block 10 and the energy prospects that open up in the area, ‘Glafcos’ has indeed become a game changer.

Specifically the Mediterranean energy prospects that open up for the United States, through ExxonMobil, reach beyond Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone and into Egypt’s EEZ, where they have secured an offshore field, as well as into Greece’s EEZ.

As for France, TOTAL is about to enter three offshore fields where Italian ENI is already present, while the Cypriot government will also assign to the French energy company an exclusive offshore field.

But there is an even more important aspect in Cyprus’ security, a most imperative one for energy planning and projects in the works, and that’s none other than the signing of a defence agreement between Nicosia and Paris in March. This accord will provide a place in the Vasilikos Bay where naval ships from France and elsewhere will pull into port.

It is understood that the issue of security for Cyprus regarding the Cyprus issue will undergo a vital change, since the port at Vasilikos will be constructed with many blessings including from the so-called Western Alliance.

Thank goodness there are also no-nonsense government officials in the Anastasiades administration, one of whom points out that the time has come now for serious infrastructure in Cyprus and important decisions. Talk of some serious infrastructure refers to the kind of works that are pertinent to drilling in which we participate. These will be works, such as the port at Vasilikos that will prop up and support drilling projects.

Way of doing things

This calls for immediate change in the mindset and ways of doing things. For example, state bureaucracy is a major drawback in fostering a business environment for multinational companies, which will try to set headquarters in Cyprus but will go elsewhere if this cannot be done.

It is not possible for big companies that throw their weight around to operate in a country where justice is put on hold to be administered over 500 days later. Here in Cyprus we can talk about cases that take up to seven years to be adjudicated.

It is not possible that these companies would ever put up with banks that perform tricks, bankers who destroy entire hard drives, and executive boards with a sleight of hand found in third-world bazaars and flea markets.

We are not calling for Cyprus to become Singapore, where white collar criminals can face the death penalty. But we are asking that we finally become a modern state governed by the rule of law.

 

The article was first published by Kathimerini Cyprus on 3 March 2019

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Paraschos  |  energy  |  drilling  |  reform  |  bureaucracy  |  red tape  |  France  |  USA  |  Vasilikos

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