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Justice minister pledges movement on 45 pending bills

Υπουργός Δικαιοσύνης – Σύσκεψη με
Justice Minister Stefi Drakou

Justice Minister Stefi Drakou on Wednesday pledged to hold meetings will all stakeholders so that progress is made on the discussion in parliament of 45 pending bills, including the ones on justice reform, and combating corruption.

The minister attended a meeting of the House legal committee where she called on everyone involved do their bit so that discussion on the bills is completed so they can be tabled to the plenary to vote.

It was pointed out to MPs that several of these bills concern reforms necessary to draw funds from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Fund.

Referring to the justice reform bills, Drakou said that after four years of consultations they have reached the final stage and the reform is in the hands of parliament. Everyone, she said, shares the people’s distress for the fact that it can take 15 years for justice to be served, pointing out that the public’s patience has reached its limits.

On the bills to fight corruption, the minister said they are a great challenge that “we need to meet.” The goal of delivering a comprehensive anti-corruption legal framework is common, she added.

The minister pointed out that these bills are a precondition for drawing the European funds, which makes their rapid completion a pressing matter.

Drakou also referred to important bills pending before the committee such as those on establishing a commercial court, an admiralty, on family law and regulations on mediation in family disputes.

Another issue discussed is the bill on creating an independent authority against corruption. Discussion on the bill resumed on Wednesday after the postponement of the vote in the last plenary session before the closing of the previous parliament before last May’s legislative elections.

Drakou said many of the suggestions by parties and stakeholders were included in the revised text that had been submitted to the committee in its last meeting before parliament dissolved last spring.

The minister said she would launch an intensive round of meetings with all political forces and stakeholders and was willing to hear their suggestions but stressed that no one has the right “to lead the bills to a dead end.”

The main disagreements that are now being raised concern the issues of the term of office of members, the qualifications of members, the discretionary powers the authority should have and concerns about the powers concerning gathering information, Drakou said.

She expressed the view there are solutions for many of these issues.

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