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Cyprus

MPs voice concern over low birth rate

Members of the parliament’s ad hoc committee on demographics on Tuesday expressed concern about the low birth rate of 1.3 per cent recorded in 2020, and called for immediate measures.

Committee chair Linos Papayiannis said that 9,189 births by Greek Cypriot parents were recorded in 2015, which fell to 8,016 in 2020.

In comparison, births from foreign parents rose from 1,706 in 2015 to 2,664 in 2020.

As the data stands, he said, “we have one birth by migrant parents for every three births by Greek Cypriot parents”, with the birth rate now standing at 1.3 per cent, which is below replacement level.

He added that the committee will submit a memorandum involving the president and all relevant ministries, with suggestions for ameliorating the issue.

“A very important aspect that many organisations are calling for is tax relief for couples,” he said, adding that the only time a marked increase in births was recorded was in 1991, when the state offered a substantial subsidy for new births.

Disy’s Prodromos Alambritis applauded the House’s approval last week of a law extending maternity leave for mothers with two children or more, saying the committee is considering more measures involving all stakeholders.

However, Diko’s Zacharias Koulias said that extending maternity leave is not enough to encourage more births.

He added that “if the state wants to solve the problem it should consider generous subsidies for all births,” and suggested a one-off subsidy of €5,000 for the first child, €6,000 for the second and so on.

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