Cyprus finance minister confident country's next regular bailout review will be positive

Associated Press

Cyprus' finance minister said Friday he expects the country's next regular review of its bailout program will be positive, allowing rescue cash to again flow into state coffers after a months-long delay.

Harris Georgiades said the review will wrap up in the next few days once "technical matters" are cleared up regarding foreclosure and insolvency laws that make it easier for banks to collect on a huge amount of bad loans.

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"What has been confirmed is the very significant progress regarding the course of reforms to our economy," Georgiades said.

Once the review is completed, eurozone member Cyprus will also be eligible to take part in the European Central Bank's trillion-euro, bond-buying stimulus program, Georgiades said.

The country's creditors have held up bailout money since late last year after lawmakers balked at putting the foreclosure and insolvency laws into force until last month, when they passed additional legislation offering more legal protection to small debtors.

Georgiades said Cyprus aims to start regularly borrowing on international bond markets well before its bailout program ends in 10 months.

Cyprus has already received 6.1 billion euros ($6.84 billion) from the 10 billion euro rescue package it secured in March, 2013 that prevented it from sliding into bankruptcy.

The finance minister said Cyprus could defy forecasts that its economy will remain in recession this year if it continues adhering to its reform program and strict fiscal discipline.

Cyprus has consistently earned plaudits from its creditors in past reviews for sticking to the terms of its rescue program.