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Country Reports

Cyprus Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Cyprus is divided into two de-facto entities: the Greek Cypriot-governed Republic of Cyprus (RoC), a member of the European Union; and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognised only by Turkey. Numerous internationally mediated attempts at reaching an agreement on the island’s reunification have failed, with the latest talks collapsing in July 2017. The conservative government of President Nicos Anastasiades won a second term in 2018, after overseeing the country’s economic recovery following the 2012–13 financial crisis. In December 2019, the cabinet went through a mini reshuffle, replacing, most importantly, the interior and finance ministers. Policy direction is likely to remain consistent with their predecessors and early election unlikely in 2020.Banks’ non-performing loan (NPL) ratio stood at 30% at the end of the first half of 2019, the second highest in the EU after Greece. Although NPLs have declined substantially in 2018, their downward trend has stalled this year and legislative changes, such as amendments to the foreclosure laws currently being discussed by parliament, can make it more difficult for banks to reduce their bad exposures. The Cypriot economy is expected to expand for a sixth consecutive year in 2020, although growth will continue to decelerate as a result of a more challenging external environment. Nevertheless, economic growth will remain substantially above the eurozone average, sustained by healthy domestic demand conditions. Hydrocarbon discoveries in Cyprus’ EEZ present a considerable opportunity for the country to establish itself as an energy hub in the Eastern Mediterranean. However, Turkey disputes Cyprus’s territorial claims and insists on a revenue-sharing agreement. As this is highly unlikely to transpire, there is a high risk that Turkey will continue disruptive tactics against companies conducting drilling operations in the area.
Last update: December 6, 2019

Operational Outlook

The operational environment in the Republic of Cyprus offers a well-developed transport and communications infrastructure and easy access for non-Cypriots to open foreign- and local-currency deposit accounts. However, the country's water utilities require serious investment in the face of arid weather conditions. Corruption remains endemic, as does general financial crime. Labour unrest risks on the Greek-Cypriot side remain moderate against the backdrop of privatisation plans for various state-owned entities. Despite considerable efforts to attract foreign investment to the Turkish side, an overhaul of bureaucratic obstacles and the regularisation of relations with the southern side remain unaddressed.

Last update: November 9, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

There are no active terrorist groups in Cyprus. Although Cyprus's low international profile reduces the risk of terrorism on the island, its strategic location elevates the likelihood of it becoming a logistics and transit hub for militants. There have been no reported incidents of this occurring to date. Separately, the UK's retention of an airbase and signals intelligence collection stations on the RoC increases the risk of them being targeted by terrorist attacks, particularly as the airbase is being used to mount air operations in the region.

Last update: November 9, 2019

Crime

Cyprus has the lowest crime rate in Europe, according to Eurostat. Nonetheless crime has increased in the past three years and there are notable levels of drug smuggling, money laundering, and sex trafficking. It is feared that recent measures, on the Greek Cypriot side, to combat trafficking of women by changing their working status from "artiste visas" to regular work permits will only hide the problem. Equally problematic is the widespread possession of small arms. There are occasional instances of shootings or bombings involving rival gangs.

Last update: November 9, 2019

War Risks

UN peacekeepers stationed along the "green line" minimise the risk of cross-border incidents between the two sides. This risk is further mitigated by the ongoing reunification negotiations. The last border incident took place during a protest inside the buffer zone in 2011, when a Greek-Cypriot citizen was shot dead because he hauled down a Turkish-Cypriot flag from a sentry post on the border. Disputes concerning gas exploration prompted aggressive naval manoeuvres by the Turkish navy in Cyprus's EEZ during 2017. New incidents took place through 2019 and they are likely to continue as further drilling gets under way.

Last update: November 9, 2019

Social Stability

Moderate

Civil unrest risks are low on both sides of the divided island. The positive economic outlook on the Greek Cypriot side projected for 2019 is likely to further dampen social impetus for protests and riots. Potential privatisations are the most likely trigger for protests and strikes in the one-year outlook, particularly affecting ports and energy. School teachers are likely to organise large rallies as they did in August 2019. The risk of violent confrontations between protesters and police, causing injuries and property damage, is likely to be minimal.

Last update: November 9, 2019

Health Risk

Elevated

Vaccines required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Vaccines recommended for all travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines recommended for most travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Vaccines recommended for some travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Cyprus enjoys a Mediterranean climate. Spring and fall are short but particularly pleasant. Summers are hot and dry. Winter is mild except in mountainous regions where it sometimes snows. Rain is common between November and February. Ocean temperatures are pleasant between April and November.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +357
Emergency Services: 112 or 119

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019