London, March 22 (Reuters) – UK-based Cypriots mulling ways to raise cash for Cyprus’ proposed solidarity fund are due to meet next week, the president of a body representing the most significant community of Cypriots outside of the island itself said on Friday.
The initiative comes as the island struggles to find funds to meet its side of a bailout deal with the European Union or face the collapse of its financial system. Brussels is demanding Cyprus contribute 5.8 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in return for a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout.
Efforts to obtain funds from Russia have so far failed and the government is now looking at measures including a “solidarity fund” bundling state assets, such as future gas revenues and nationalised pension funds, as the basis for an emergency bond issue.
Peter Droussiotis, president of the National Federation of Cypriots in the UK, expects a large number of UK Cypriots, including people and bankers, to take part in a London meeting his organisation plans for the evening of March 28.
“We will identify ways in which to encourage the British Cypriot community’s potential participation in the Cyprus government’s proposed Solidarity Investment Fund or any other similar scheme that is finally set up,” he told Reuters.
There are no plans to create a system to collect any contributions at present.
The meeting will discuss ways to rally UK-Cypriot as well as British businesses to invest in Cyprus through channels set up by the government in Nicosia, Droussiotis said.
“Our role will be more as advocates (or) ambassadors for the island in relation to its effort to attract much needed investment (and) funds.”
Around 300,000 Cypriots and British citizens of Cypriot extraction live in Britain compared to a population on the island itself of just 1.1 million.
Droussiotis, a barrister, founded and is chairman of PGD Strategy Limited, a corporate finance and strategy consulting firm.
He previously worked in senior executive roles with Credit Suisse, Minet Group, now part of Aon, and Price Waterhouse, now PWC. (Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; editing by Patrick Graham).