Address of the Mayor of Limassol Mr Andreas Christou, at the 2nd Cyprus – Russia Forum, on Friday, 10 December 2010 at 11.15 a.m. - Four Seasons hotel
I welcome you all in Limassol and greatly appreciate your presence here for the 2nd Cyprus - Russia Investment Forum.
I welcome old and new friends from Moscow and congratulate the organisers, mainly the Totalserve Management Ltd for the initiative taken and its entire action to this end.
Limassol is currently the “steam engine” of the Cyprus economy, where thousands of local and foreign companies and enterprises become active; furthermore, the biggest law and accounting firms and financial companies in Cyprus are settled in Limassol, which experiences great tourism, construction and residential development and where projects aiming to improve life quality and the town’s image are implemented. Yet, Limassol is the venue of further activities and disposes, of a new cultural infrastructure, a huge choice of recreational and leisure places, three new universities, one being technical and State-owned and the other two being private English-speaking ones, many secondary and special education schools, where classes are given in Greek, English and Russian. In Limassol a big multiethnic, multicultural group of our fellow citizens stands for 20% of the population and live side by side in peace with the Cypriots.
Further to Britons, Germans, Norses, Israeli and others, who belong to this group, the Russians and the Russian speaking community have a significantly dominant position in such multinational, multicultural group; the Russian community has developed rapidly after 1985, with the first Russian enterprises – that time Soviet ones – moving here from Lebanon, due to the abnormal situation there.
Our town has a long history dating 4000 years back and it always existed, depending on its geographical position, agricultural production (wines, carobs, citrus fruits) and business, and at the same time on its inhabitants’ hospitable and open-hearted spirit.
We don’t have many elements on past links between Limassol and other times, meaning the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and latest times, with Russia and mainly Moscow. The Historical Archives and Museum recently established by the Limassol Municipality have been investigating this topic.
However, Limassol has been the first town since 1960 to export wine products (wines, alcohol, raisins) and citrus fruits to the Soviet Union, on the basis of the barter trade as established between the newly established Republic of Cyprus and the Soviet Union, which was provided in exchange with cement, sugar and industrial products.
The relations between the two countries had by 1989 developed in a particularly impressive way, resulting to 90% of Limassol’s and Pafos’ agricultural production be exported to the Soviet Union with Cyprus importing industrial products from the SU accordingly.
I will not tackle – yet, being the subject-area of other speakers – the particularly close relations in the field of culture and education, as well as our unprecedendly enhanced relations in the diplomatic, defence and political field.
All the Cypriots, none excepted, are aware of that the Republic of Cyprus existed and became consolidated both in the early ‘60s when the Republic was proclaimed, and later, after the Turkish invasion, thanks to the multi-aspect, various and unselfish assistance provided by the Russian and more generally the Soviet people and all its governments and such a fact is acknowledgeable.
Despite the economic recession, Limassol has currently been experiencing high growth rhythm, with many important insfrastructure projects under construction but also subsidized by the State, the municipal and the private sector, as well as the European Union’s funds.
The new port seawall is extended by 500 metres
Port dredging up to 16 metres and a
New passenger terminal is on the way.
Total cost €80 m.
Marina – overall cost €350 m.
Old port regeneration €15 m.
City centre projects €60 m.
Parking places, arterial roads etc €120 m.
Sewerage and storm drainage works €350 m.
Cultural infrastructure (new theatre, museums, arts centre)
Private projects / important developing projects, high and complex buildings €500 m.
The overall cost of all the running projects currently in Limassol is €1.5 bil.
The two gulf grounds with the surrounding residential estate in the north part of the town for which a construction permit has already been issued are not stated so far; moreover, a further ground at a close proximity to the town is additionally expected to be given construction permit.
Considering all the above stated, Limassol is evidently an important town in the South East Mediterranean. Its achievements in all fields – letters, art, music, sports, and business activities – have always been considered significantly important indeed, more than the town’s size and its population in figures.
Limassol’s history, tradition but also future perspectives as occurred following Cyprus accession to the European Union, make it possible for the local Authorities to aspire to Limassol enjoying a European and international glaring reputation, which all its inhabitants living, working and studying here will be proud of.
We aim to our town becoming an international culture centre with universities, art schools, museums, libraries, research centres, where cultural events might take place and our objective is establishing a link between Limassol’s multicultural history and the whole area. We wish our town to become the centre in the context of its major area.
The development that Limassol experiences, is directly connected to the boosting of the economic activity, thanks to which new positions are then created, leading to the town’s population getting bigger and the standard of living higher. Multinational and other companies based in our town participate in this development process and contribute in improving and enriching knowledge and know-how on a local level, while offering their social contribution to the whole population’s benefit.
Limassol is reformed and modernized. This is a vision and a will shared by both its Authorities and its inhabitants, supported by all, none excepted, the Russian companies based in Limassol and the Russian citizens living here included. Limassol is, therefore, acknowledged to have become a modern and animated town.
Developing relations and exchanges with Moscow, which is such a big city and such an important culture, science and technology centre, is undoubtedly particularly important for us all for Limassol, the local Authorities and our fellow citizens indeed; we will spare no pains and expense to this end.