By George Psyllides
MPs think €590,000 was not enough to pay for their trips abroad and to entertain foreign officials in Cyprus and are threatening to retaliate by rejecting the travel and hospitality budgets of other government departments.
Instead of the €650,000 parliament wanted, the finance ministry approved €590,000, prompting the disapproval of DIKO chairman Nicolas Papadopoulos who played the patriotic card while describing it as an intervention into the affairs of the legislature.
The parliament’s director, Vasiliki Anastasiadou, said the €60,000 cut prevented it from developing its legislative diplomacy.
As a country with a political problem, there was a need for parliament to participate in meetings and to reciprocate hospitality and organise conferences in Cyprus, she said.
DIKO’s Papadopoulos said his party could reject all such funds unless the whole policy governing such matters was put under review.
“I ought to note, and I think I am conveying the Finance committee’s unanimous view, that parliamentary missions abroad are a basic activity,” he said. “Parliamentary diplomacy is necessary during a period when we want to convey our country’s positions abroad, especially considering Turkey’s recent illegal violations.”
Papadopoulos said the government was making the effort harder by cutting their funds by €60,000.
He also suggested that the cut “constitutes an intervention by the executive.”
His party, Papadopoulos said, was looking into the possibility to reject all the travel and hospitality budgets of government departments “unless the broader policy of allocating such funds is reviewed.”