Cyprus is an island located in the north-east part of the Mediterranean at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. Its strategic position has played an important role in the development of Cyprus as a centre for international businesses. This position was strengthened with the accession of Cyprus with the European Union as of May 2004.
Cyprus is the 3rd largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and is located on the east side. It is the crossroad of 3 continents- Europe, Asia and Africa. Cyprus enjoys a subtropical climate where there are hot and dry summers and very mild and rainy winters. Spring and Autumn are effectively short intervals in between, characterized by smooth weather. Its 6 major cities are: Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Famagusta, and Kyrenia. Nicosia is the capital and heart of the island and lies on its North Central part.
Cyprus hosts two International Airports and two harbors. The two airports are Larnaca International Airport and Paphos International Airport and the two harbors are in Limassol and in Larnaca. They service cargo, passenger and cruise ships. Limassol is the largest of the two and handles a large volume of both cargo and cruise vessels. Both airports provide flights to numerous destinations around the world.
The Republic of Cyprus has two official languages. These are Greek and Turkish. The everyday spoken languages are Cypriot Greek for the majority of the population and Cypriot Turkish for the Turkish Cypriots. The main foreign languages spoken are English, French and German. English is recognized as L2, meaning a second language. Russian, after English and Greek, is the third language used on many signs of shops and restaurants, particularly in Limassol and Paphos. Russian is widely spoken among the country’s minorities, residents and citizens of post-Soviet countries.
Cyprus is a unitary presidential representative republic and operates under a multi-party system. The head of the state and of the government (the president) is elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. Executive power is exercised by the government with legislative power. However the judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament.
Cyprus has been a member of the European Union since May 1st 2004. Once successfully entering the European and Monetary Union (EMU), Cyprus adopted the euro as its national currency in January 1st 2008. Such a decision was believed to be advantageous due to the existence of credibility and the provision of stability.
Cyprus has an open, free-market and service-based economy, including tourism, financial services and real estate. The economic achievements of the country, during the past decades, have been significant considering the economic and social shocks that have arisen.
However in 2012, the Cypriot economy was affected by the Eurozone financial and banking crisis. This led to an agreement with the Eurogroup in March 2013 to split the country’s second largest bank, the Cyprus Popular Bank (also known as Laiki Bank), into a “bad” bank which would be wound down over time and a “good” bank which would be absorbed by the Bank of Cyprus. In return for a €10 billion bailout from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, often referred to as the “troika”, the Cypriot government would be required to impose a significant haircut on uninsured deposits. Insured deposits of €100,000 or less would not be affected.
The eurozone crisis has severely strained Cyprus’s economy and has increased the country’s relative debt. As a result, tough austerity measures were implemented to restructure the economy. After some years recession the economy is starting to recover, demonstrating a growth at an annual rate of 0.2 per cent in the first three months of 2015, after shrinking 2.3 per cent in 2014.
The country exited the programme in early March 2016, having only drawn €7.2 billion of the €10 billion available, and cut its debt/GDP ratio below 100% in 2017. Restructuring the economy and restoration of credibility in Cyprus’ banks has been a top priority – and true to form, the country’s economic recovery has been faster than many first projected.
In recent years, notable quantities of natural gas have been discovered in the plot ‘Aphrodite’ in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus which is estimated to have significant revenue implications. The discovery of natural gas has given huge prospects to boost investment in Cyprus from companies from all over the world.
For more detailed information regarding the business environment in Cyprus please refer to the links below: