Interior Minister Nicos Nouris on Tuesday lauded the launch of support measures for local authority reform in Cyprus.
Speaking at a conference marking the launch, Nouris said the €840,000 Council of Europe project falls under the national recovery and resilience plan titled Enhancing the Local Government Reform in Cyprus.
The training programme will last 30 months, starting January 2023. This will support existing local authorities in their efforts to transition to the new framework, as well as the new local authorities and their operations after the new local and community elections set to take place in 2024, Nouris said.
“The huge reform that the government persistently sought and achieved its passing in parliament, will change the map of local authority reform in Cyprus. During the 2024 elections, citizens will vote for mayors and community leaders of new entities, which will be enriched by population, responsibilities, administration and be financially autonomous,” Nouris said.
“This will reflect the European maps of local self-government, with boosted mechanisms of internal audit and transparency, as well as greater potential for citizens in decision-making.”
Partners in the effort are the municipal and community unions, the Cyprus academy of public administration and the academy of local self-government. The interior ministry is responsible for the implementation.
With the use of special training tools available through the Council of Europe, as well as the wide network of experts in matters related to local authority reform, we move forward with training elected officials, as well as other stakeholders in local authorities, passing on the expertise and applied practices that have already been adopted by other member states, Nouris said.
Already, the government has already struck a deal with Greece aimed at boosting cooperation and allowing Cyprus to maximise its exposure to the benefits and expertise of other countries that have implemented similar systems.
The interior ministry’s aim, is that the transition offers the most effective and high-standard services to citizens, Nouris added. “This has been our greatest goal.”
Citizens will be the biggest beneficiaries to this reform, he added.
On March 3, and after about a decade of discussions and haggling, parliament passed the legislative package which created 20 municipalities (down from 30) as well as 30 local council clusters. The transition period to full implementation is set to run through to May 2024.
The changes will see five new municipalities for the Nicosia district of Nicosia (Ayios Dometios, Engomi and Aglandjia); Lakatamia (Lakatamia and Tseri plus Anthoupoli); Latsia-Geri; South Nicosia-Dali; and Strovolos, which stays intact in its present form.
For Limassol, the four new municipalities are: Limassol (Limassol and Mesa Yitonia); East Limassol; Polemidia; and Western Limassol.
For Larnaca district the new municipalities are: Larnaca; Aradippou; Dromolaxia-Meneou; Lefkara; and Athienou.
In Paphos district: Paphos; Eastern Paphos; Western Paphos; and Polis Chrysochous.
Finally, Famagusta district will have two municipalities: Ayia Napa (Ayia Napa-Sotira); and Paralimni-Dherynia.