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Cyprus

Local authorities must adjust if they want to survive

President Nicos Anastasiades addressing municipal leaders

The model followed by local authorities in Cyprus needs to adjust to the new conditions in order to survive, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday.

Addressing the 30th annual general meeting of the Union of Cyprus Municipalities in Nicosia, the president said the government’s aim was to modernise local authorities and make them more efficient, bearing in mind the impact of the financial crisis.

But the crisis could not be used as an excuse to avoid transferring powers to local administrations, Anastasiades said. He said a future decentralisation of powers would allow local authorities to take on new responsibilities.

Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos said the government’s intention was to transform local administration into “a real partner, not a mere intermediary”. “Establishing a regional self-government is setting entirely new conditions for decentralised administration,” he said. Through such synergies, operational costs would be reduced and local authorities could become financially viable.

Union of Cyprus Municipalities President, and Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos, said local administration needed to be enhanced and the state apparatus needed reform.

He expressed readiness on the part of local authorities to press forward with the necessary changes but the financial independence of local authorities needed to be safeguarded, he said.

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