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Island views differ on economic future

By Spyros Papavassiliou

The latest Eurobarometer gauges, among other things, the economic sentiment across the 28 EU member states, and is revealing regarding the views of both Republic of Cyprus citizens and members of the Turkish Cypriot community.

Whereas Republic of Cyprus citizens are cautiously optimistic over the economic future of their country, the majority of Turkish Cypriots expressed pessimism.

As part of the survey, members of the public were asked what their expectations are for the next twelve months. Regarding the economic situation in the Republic of Cyprus, 30% of Cypriots said that they expect things to get better, 55% expected more of the same, while 10% said things would get worse. 5% of respondents answered with “Don’t know”. The expressed opinions regarding the future employment condition in the Republic of Cyprus were similar.

Turkish Cypriots responded to the same question differently. Whereas 23% of respondents expected the economic situation to improve, at the same time 43% expected it to get worse, with 27% expecting it to stay the same. “Don’t know” was the answer for 7% of respondents. As in the case of the Republic of Cyprus respondents, Turkish Cypriots’ views of future employment conditions mirrored their expectations of the economy.

Paradoxically, many Turkish Cypriots were optimistic regarding their future personal job situation. A significant 34% believed they would be in a better position, however, 26% believed they would be off worse. 28% said they would be in the same situation, with the rest of respondents answering “Don’t know”.

Republic of Cyprus citizens were less split on the matter, with 63% saying they expected more of the same regarding their job situation. Interestingly, only 4% believed they would be worse-off, with 19% saying they would be better off.

By far, unemployment and the economic situation were said to be the two greatest issues the Republic of Cyprus faces right now by the country’s citizens.  Turkish Cypriots were more split on the question of which was the biggest issue their community faced. Cost of living was marginally first, followed by the economic situation, unemployment and crime.

One of the most interesting findings is that the opinions of Republic of Cyprus citizens and Turkish Cypriots were in unison when asked to judge the current state of the economy in their country/community. In both groups, 39% of respondents said the economy was in good shape, with 60% saying it was in bad shape.

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