By Constantinos Psillides
NICOSIA mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis and his colleagues from Agios Dometios and Lakatamia unveiled a joint programme yesterday aimed at integrating third country nationals into Cypriot society.
The programme is funded by the European Union and it’s similar to the “Colourful Societies” initiative, an immigrant incorporation scheme launched on Tuesday by the rest of the municipalities in the greater Nicosia area.
The programme will cost €126,000 and is funded up to 95 per cent by the EU.
According to the capital’s mayor, the initiative aims to support and train third country nationals in order to make their integration smoother. Yiorkajis praised the new initiative, adding that the public also has to do its part.
“Social integration is a two-way street. Third country nationals should be able to blend into the local society but people also have to accept the new circumstances that arise from multiculturalism,” he said.
Among the services the programme offers are counselling, seminars for adjustment, issuing a manual on key issues such as housing, transportation and communication, employment, health services, public administration and local authorities.
The programme also funded activities such as culinary and music festivals, along with sporting events.
In his message, Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos said that local authorities play a major part in the state’s efforts to incorporate immigrant population with the general public.
“Our aim is to continue supporting local authorities in their efforts to make life easier for immigrants and locals. The Interior Ministry is determined to keep working tirelessly to improve immigration policies and to promote equality and the respect for human rights,” said the minister’s message.