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Cyprus

EU fine looms as Cyprus misses directive deadline

The European Commission

Cyprus risks yet another fine from the EU having missed the deadline for fully transposing into national law a directive relating to public-sector contracts.

The legislation was submitted by the government to parliament on December 8, 2016. It was brought to the plenum last week, but MPs decided then to postpone taking a vote, saying they needed more time to study the item.

The bill is expected to be brought to the plenum again on Friday.

But the law should have been transposed by February 9, the date by which it should have been both passed by parliament as well as published in the government gazette in order for it to take effect.

Cyprus had already received a reasoned opinion – a second warning – from the European Commission.

With the deadline missed, the attorney-general’s office informed MPs that this week it requested an extension from the European Commission, in order to avoid the fine.

It was not clear – though unlikely – whether the commission would oblige.

At the House watchdog committee on Thursday, MPs and government officials blamed one another for the delay.

The legislation concerns regulations and procedures relating to public contracts for services concessions. It concerns the central government, semi-governmental organisations and local government.

The law requires authorities to publish and hold open competitions for concession services contracts worth €5.2 million and over.

One such example might be the services concessions at the port of Limassol, awarded to private operators.

In that case, however, the government did in fact run an open competition, despite the fact it was not at the time required by law to do so.

The rules on concessions services constituted the third and last part of the relevant EU directive; Cyprus had already passed laws complying with the first two parts.

In 2016, Cyprus failed to transpose into national law dozens of EU directives, which could lead to the island being slapped with millions in fines from the European Court of Justice.

Last year alone, Cypriot authorities failed to undertake some 50 national execution measures, resulting in 23 formal notices and/or reasoned opinions from the European Commission.

 

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