NICOSIA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus's Council of Ministers approved a surplus budget for next year that is neither an austerity budget nor one that leads to economic let up, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Thursday.
Georgiades said that the 2019 budget provides for a revenue of 8.5 billion euros (9.9 billion U.S. dollars)and for an expenditure of 7.9 billion, euros.
"This leaves a sizeable surplus of 0.6 billion euros, which represents about 3 percent of Cyprus's Gross Domestic Product," Georgiades said after a meeting of the Council of Ministers.
Cyprus's GDP amounts to about 20 billion euros.
This year's budget provided for 7.72 billion euros in revenue and 7.53 billion euros in expenditure, and a surplus of 0.19 billion.
The eastern Mediterranean island ended in 2016 a three-year economic probation under which technocrats from the Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund exercised strict control over the Cypriot economy, imposing strict austerity and planning the budget so as to leave a primary surplus.
Cyprus had to cede control of the handling of its economy in exchange for a 10-billion-euro assistance program to help it out of its worst ever economic crisis, which led to the 2013 bailout.
Georgiades sought to pacify the population saying that it will not mean a stop to a gradual return to salaries and pensions before the crisis, but also to assure Cyprus's creditors that there will not be a return to fiscal practices that led to the crisis.
"The 2019 budget is a surplus one as was the budget for this year. It does not in any way lead to an fiscal loosening, but is not an austerity budget either," Georgiades said.
The announcement of the approval of the budget by the government means that the European Commission has already put its stamp on it. (1 euro = 1.16 U.S. dollars)