Una Noche En Nicosia

The President of the Cyprus-Spain Business Association, Mr. Marios Klitou, H.E. The Ambassador of Spain Ms Ana Maria Salomon and the Members of the Board of Directors request the pleasure of your company at a cockail reception. (More Details)

Speech given by H.E. Mr José Manuel Cervera de Gòngora, to the members of the Association
at a reception on 16 May 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is for me a pleasure and a great honour to have you here at this Embassy. I had promised to invite you to this gathering which should have taken place in February, but my engagement and tight Agenda during the last few months made it impossible. That is the only reason why we can only have this meeting today, with a certain delay. Its aim -useless to say- is to enhance the activities of the Association of Cypriot and Spanish Businessman. In this context, I would like to give you some information about the Spanish Economy, and say a few words about what my country can offer to Cyprus.

1.- Spain counts today on a population of approximately 40 million people, mostly urban and 34% of which lives in the main Spanish cities; as well as on a per capita income of 15.400 $ and a GDP of more than 570 billion € ;

2.- This means that it is the eighth Country in the world in terms of the size of its economy, the fourth Stock Exchange European market by its bulk of contracts and a Country with an economic growth (2.8%) which has consistently surpassed by 76% the growth of the rest of the EU Member States during these last eight years

3.- We are talking about a liberalized economy, whose degree of opening (measured by the sum of exports and imports of goods and services) has passed from 37.4% of the GDP in 1986, to more than 60 % last year. And as for the movement of capitals, the restrictions which, several years ago, were imposed by the Spanish legislation, they have disappeared progressively while the weight of foreign investments in the GDP grew significantly.

Spain's is an economy which, in the last two decades, has gone through an intense privatisation process, not based on ideological reasons but on budgetary, strategic and technological constraints. A privatisation process which was introduced seeking financial and industrial coherence, as well as technological rationality.

In short, we can say that in the framework of the so called liberal TRIAD, which forms the present European consensus (to stabilize, to liberalize, to privatise); the Spanish government has erected the basis of the Modernisation Program of the State's Entrepreneurial Public Sector.

But how is Spain nowadays reflected on Cyprus in the commercial field?

4.- Spain presently only represents about 3.5% of all Cypriot Imports and 1.6 % of all Cypriot Exports. Unfortunately, Countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Italy, Greece, Germany and France - to mention the six main trading partners of Cyprus- still export more to your market than Spain does. Nevertheless, it is our belief and desire that - slowly, but steadily - this trend will change in favour of Spain in the near future.

5.- Because it is a fact that a wide range of Spanish products are presently more competitive in international markets than their rival products. This has recently been the case here with several Spanish companies operating in the fashion market. Spanish shoe and women's and men's clothing stores here, which some of you so well represent fortunately with so much success here in Cyprus, are a great success story that makes us all proud and satisfied.

6.- But I could also mention the growing sales in Cyprus of many different modern Spanish furniture brands, of Spanish ceramic tiles and of Spanish cars (SEAT). And this, just to mention a few of the other success stories of Spanish Exports to Cyprus.

Presently -Ladies and Gentlemen- Spanish Exports to Cyprus represent 166'89 million Euros in 2003, whereas imports from Cyprus are reaching in the same period 15,42 millions of Euros. Coverture Rate of 1.082%.

Cars, furniture, ceramic tiles, textile, shoes, are traditional exports.

Nevertheless, we believe that much more can still be done to open up your market more to other Spanish products. And when I say done, I am, of course, not only thinking of the benefits that lie here, in Cyprus, for Spanish manufacturers. I am also and very especially, thinking of the benefits that would lie in them for Cyprus importers and retailers. Because enormous range of Spanish products that are unknown in your Country have not yet reached the Cypriot market and would have a tremendous commercial potential here: I am thinking, for example, of a diversity of Spanish wines such as Jerez and Cava - which I am afraid are still not easily available in your supermarkets -, of Spanish cured ham - the world famous Jamón Ibérico or Serrano which is so demanded in other E.U. Countries and the United States, but which is practically non existent here - and of many other quality food and drink products.

But I am also thinking of Spanish cosmetic products, of Spanish garden furniture; of Spanish jewellery; of the very advanced medical and hospital equipment that my Country now produces; of Spanish industrial machinery and construction equipment and material; of decorative and household articles of great quality and beautiful design, of different brands of Spanish electrical appliances not yet present here; and, why not also, of Spanish toys, which are among the best in the world and of far a greater quality than those made in Asia.

(Investment of Spain abroad -Cyprus)

7.- But today, exports of merchandises are not enough: Ten years ago, success in the international market was the mark of quality of a product and of its management; however, at the present time, the guarantee for a regular presence in international markets requires, in most cases, the physical presence in the said markets. Most times, it demands even the transfer abroad of part or the whole process of manufacturing. As well as other activities of the company, in order to keep up the very share of the domestic market. Since 1997 the rate of direct investment issued by Spain has surpassed the rate of investment received from abroad.

And as a proof of this overlapping of Spain in the international market, the total sum of issued and received direct investment has passed from one and a half - three percent of the GDP (1,5/3%) at the beginning of the nineties, to almost nine percent (9%) of the GDP in these last years. As for possible investments of Spain in Cyprus I think there are possibilities in the tourist field (Hotels, Golf Courses), in the financial area (banks), the agricultural sector (irrigation) and construction (solar energy), just to give a few examples.

So far investments of Spain abroad. What about foreign investments in my country?


8.- Which are the characteristics of the Spanish economy that make her a selected destination for so much foreign investment especially in the last two decades?...

11.- During this last period, Spain has carried out an important process of modernization which has included a deep renovation of its infrastructure. The infrastructure plan for the period 1993-2007 provides for a total investment of 135 billion euros in infrastructure projects.

12.- The network of highways, with more than 10.000 km, has tripled since 1982, and by 2010 Spain will have 13.000 km of the most modern highways in the world.

13.- In regard to railways, Spain has also a network of 15.000 km. The high-speed lines have become a priority in the governments' infrastructure plans: It is expected that by 2010 Madrid will be connected, through high-speed trains, with the French border in three different points, with the Mediterranean Coast by 2008 and around 2007 with all of Andalusia and Portugal.

14.- Finally, Spain has a very good telecommunications network: to the 64.000 km of conventional optic fibre lines, we have to add one of the biggest networks of underwater cable and satellite connections in the world.

15.- As far as the population is concerned, in accordance to the obligations adopted by the EU in order to guarantee an adequate level of employment, the Spanish government has carried out, since the mid nineties, deep reforms in its labour market, introducing a greater degree of flexibility in employment. Spain has created more than 25% of the employment generated by the European Union.

It is a fact that today the Spanish labour market offers one of the best relations, in Europe, between labour cost and productivity. We speak here of an active, highly qualified and productive population, capable of adapting itself to technological changes. A fact that has contributed to the Spanish productivity growth, placing itself amongst the highest in Europe nowadays.

In this context, it is important to point out that there has been a transfer of manpower from agriculture -which decreased by 12 % (from 18% to 6 % in the last fifteen years) towards the sector of Services, which increased itself by 12 % (from 50 % to 62 %) in that same period of time.

16.- As for the Financial Infrastructure, I can say that, in the last 20 years, the deregulation, the development of new technologies and the advance of de-intermediation, have all radically transformed the structure of the Spanish financial sector and the behaviour of its banks. These have embarked in a process of internationalisation, through acquisitions and mergers, seeking to attain the right size in order to survive in the new international context.

20.- For Spain, this situation, in the financial and in any other field, has favourable historic precedents. It so happened in 1959 with the end of the autarchy and the Stabilization Plan and in 1970; with the Preferential Agreement with the EEC; it happened again with the Accession to the European Communities in 1986 and I am sure it will happen again with the Enlargement Process, which began last year with, amongst other, the Accession of the Republic of Cyprus. A Process, as you know, which still has not finished.

As I have just said, the financial intermediaries have gained much higher importance, and more specifically in their three more representative forms.

In the last decade, the wealth of the investment funds has turned from 3% of GDP in 1990, to 32% of GDP in the year 2000.

21.- All these arguments explain the great volume of foreign investment that Spain receives in a consistent way. In the seventies, Spain held the eighth place of the OECD in terms of direct flows of investment we received; in the eighties we climbed to the fourth place and in the nineties to number six.

22.- Foreign direct investment in my Country is mostly aimed at the services sector and at the industry sector. Cars, chemicals, iron and steel, food products and electronics have been, amongst others, the industrial sectors which have received the highest number of investments in Spain. In the services sector, we can underline the investments in finances and insurance.

23.- What kind of aid and incentives does the Spanish legislation provide? Well...

I will enumerate a few ones:

  • State incentives for professional training, which partly subsidize the costs of professional training plans
  • State incentives for employment, which introduce discounts in social security quotas for some groups of the labour force (unemployed women between 16 and 45 years of age, handicapped people, unemployed older than 45 years of age..., etc).
  • State incentives for specific industrial sectors
  • Incentives for investment in specific regions in accordance to community rules.
  • The plan of support to Small and Medium Size Companies,
  • Incentives to the internationalisation of companies
  • And, last but not least, the aid and incentives given by the E.U. to regions suffering economic depression.

24.- Flow of investment from Cyprus to Spain is very small in both directions, and today there are but few Cypriot investments in Spain.

Año 1999
Año 2000
Año 2001
Año 2002
Año 2003
460.000 €
451.000 €
825.000 €
720.000 €

That is why those figures can be improved in the future.

But I would not like to bother you any more with date and figures. As I said before, the aim of this speech has only been to inform you that there are still many things that we can do together in order to strengthen our commercial, financial and economical relations. And for that end, we rely , on the always wise and loyal cooperation of our Honorary Consul General, Mr. Spyros Araouzos, and the efficient contribution of the Association of Businessmen of Cyprus and Spain. On our part, useless to say, that the Spanish Embassy will always be unconditionally well disposed to support your initiatives.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to thank you for having so patiently listened to me, and invite you to have a drink and something to eat.

Thank you very much.


Ο Κυπρο-Ισπανικός Επιχειρηματικός Σύνδεσμος, ο οποίος είναι συνδεδεμένος με το ΚΕΒΕ, σε συνεργασία με την Πρεσβεία της Ισπανίας στην Κύπρο, οργάνωσαν στις 28 Μαϊου, 2003, στο ξενοδοχείο Χίλτον Παρκ δεξίωση, η οποία ήταν υπό την αιγίδα του Πρέσβη της Ισπανίας στην Κύπρο κ. Ιγνάθιο Γκαρθία-Βαλκεκάσας. Στη δεξίωση παρέστησαν ο Εμπορικός Σύμβουλος της Ισπανικής Πρεσβείας κ. Γκιλιέρμο Φράγκο, ο επίσημος Πρόξενος της Ισπανίας στην Κύπρο κ. Σπύρος Αραούζος, ο πρόεδρος του Κυπρο-Ισπανικού Επιχειρηματικού Συνδέσμου κ. Πάνος Ιωαννίδης και αρκετοί επιχειρηματίες.


Πραγματοποιήθηκε τη Τετάρτη, 2 Ιουνίου, 2004 η Ετήσια Γενική Συνέλευση του Κυπρο-Ισπανικού Επιχειρηματικού Συνδέσμου o οποίος ανήκει στη δύναμη του ΚΕΒΕ. Στόχος του Συνδέσμου είναι η ανάπτυξη της περαιτέρω συνεργασίας Κύπρου-Ισπανίας στον επιχειρηματικό και γενικότερα στον οικονομικό τομέα.

Σε ομιλία του ο Πρόεδρος του Συνδέσμου κ. Πάνος Ιωαννίδης αναφέρθηκε στις δραστηριότητες του Διοικητικού Συμβουλίου κατά την περίοδο 2003-2004 και τόνισε τη σημασία που διαδραματίζει ο Σύνδεσμος ειδικότερα μετά την 1η Μαϊου, 2004 όπου η Κύπρος είναι μέλος της μεγάλης Ευρωπαϊκής οικογένειας.

Απεύθυναν χαιρετισμούς επίσης ο Γενικός Πρόξενος της Ισπανίας στην Κύπρο κ. Σπύρος Αραούζος και ο Εμπορικός Σύμβουλος της Ισπανίας στην Ελλάδα και Κύπρο κ. Γκουλιέρμο Φράνκο.