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Cyprus

Stalemate over introduction of junior ministries

Government plans to create junior ministries for tourism and development appeared to he heading for the shelf on Monday, as parties continued to have differing views over the provisions included in two bills submitted to parliament.

The fate of the two bills will be decided during a closed-doors session of the House finance committee, according to chairman Averof Neophytou.

Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides said the bills had been analysed many times during past sessions.

“The creation of the junior ministries is not an end in itself, it is to cover, in a certain way, some administrative gaps or to correct distortions,” the minister said.

One of the sticking points is the future of the Cyprus tourism organisation(CTO), which parties want to maintain.

The minister said they proposed a compromise that entailed directorates under the ministry but to avoid a diarchy, the minister must head the CTO board which should also include hoteliers.

“We want to be certain that what we will achieve is something that will work,” he said. “If there is no consensus, there is no consensus.”

As regards the junior ministry for development, questions still lingered over the administration of European programmes.

Petrides said the government would not accept taking away important powers from the finance minister or those relating to management of the fiscal framework or the budget.

Neophytou said the matter has been discussed for months and it was time parties submitted their positions, which customarily takes place behind closed doors.

Edek chairman Marinos Sizopopoulos said it was not the right time to have a final discussion, two weeks before parliament closed for Christmas and just before the presidential elections next January.

“We should look at these matters after the presidential elections and it is my view that we should not continue discussion,” he said.

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