The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a law on combatting terrorism, harmonising with a relevant EU directive over which Cyprus had earlier been warned for non-compliance.

The bill passed with 24 votes for, and 12 against – with main opposition Akel voicing concerns over further infringements on human rights.

Passage of the bill means Cyprus is now in compliance with Directive (EU) 2017/541 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2017 on combating terrorism.

Back in March 2021, the European Commission had sent a letter of warning to Nicosia over the latter’s failure to properly transpose the directive into Cyprus law.

In remarks on the House floor, Akel MP Andreas Pashiourtidis said that the easiest way to constrain civil liberties is to dub anything or anyone a terrorist.

His main concern was over who designates someone a terrorist. Just because a certain group of countries decide to designate terrorist groups – be it Palestinians or Kurds – that does not mean that the rest of the world should go along, he argued.

Ruling Disy’s Nicos Tornaritis dismissed Akel’s concerns, saying the changes brought about by the law are but a formality. He accused Akel of grandstanding and not understanding what the law entails.

From the moment that Cyprus joined the EU, Tornaritis added, “we have certain rights and obligations…and we can’t just toss EU directives into the wastebasket.”

Coming back, Pashiourtidis said that as things stand now, authorities will be able to dub a person a terrorist and remove their content from the Internet.

The MP insisted that EU member-states do have the right to adjust EU directives.

“That whenever a directive comes, we have to pass it exactly as is, is a fairy tale that needs to stop.”

The EU directive is available here: