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Cyprus Country Report

Country Risk Level



Executive Summary

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 and the successful, early completion of the bailout programme in 2016. Policy direction through the rest of 2020 is highly likely to be dominated by responding to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak, including regulatory and business restrictions and financial packages to restart the economy and mitigate the consequent deterioration on affected businesses and economic downturn.Following a large decline in activity during the first half of 2020 as a result of the containment measures implemented to contain the COVID-19 virus, the economy is expected to start recovering during the third quarter of the year. The large share of tourism in the economy (it accounts for around 20% of GDP) makes Cyprus particularly vulnerable to the economic fall-out from the pandemic, and we expect the recovery to be gradual and potentially prone to relapses.Banks’ non-performing loan (NPL) ratio stand just below 30%, the second highest in the EU after Greece. Although NPLs declined substantially in 2018, their downward trend has stalled lately and the worsening of economic conditions in 2020 may lead to a temporary reversal. 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 throughout 2020 and beyond.

Operational Outlook

The operational environment in Cyprus offers a well-developed transport and communications infrastructure and easy access for non-Cypriots to open foreign- and local-currency deposit accounts. Corruption remains endemic, as does general financial crime. Persistent public perception on the extent of the lack of transparency suggests that there has been no significant progress in tackling these issues. There is a risk that labour unrest would increase in the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021 owing to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus pandemic and ahead of general elections.


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 presents the potential for the country 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.


Cyprus has the lowest crime rate in Europe, according to Eurostat. Nonetheless, there are notable levels of drug smuggling, money laundering, and sex trafficking. There is a moderate risk 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. Sexual assault cases against European tourists have also considerably harmed the image of the country recently.

War Risks

UN peacekeepers stationed along the "green line" mitigate the risk of cross-border incidents. This risk is further limited by the potential future prospect of reunification negotiations and the status of Cyprus within the EU. The latest border incident took place in October 2018 between Greek-Cypriot farmers and Turkish-Cypriot soldiers inside the buffer zone. In 1996, 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 are likely to continue in 2020 as further drilling continues.

Social Stability

The risks of civil unrest are likely to increase in late 2020 and early 2021. The reversal of the positive economic outlook on the Greek-Cypriot side owing to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus pandemic and the projected recession in 2020 are likely to increase unemployment and put significant pressure on businesses, especially those in the area of tourism. This, together with potential privatisations and the approaching parliamentary election (by May 2021) will increase social impetus for protests, particularly affecting ports, energy, and the public sector, including transport. Protests are also likely at the RoC-TRNC checkpoints, which authorities sporadically close citing health reasons amid the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

Health Risk

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).

Practical Information


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


Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz


Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal