Interior Minister Nicos Nouris on Saturday said that the Anastasiades administration’s highest priority was the steady development of rural areas and improving the standard of living for those with homes there.
This policy, he said, this has helped people to continue living in villages, while at the same time convincing city dwellers to move to them.
Nouris’ comments were delivered during a speech at the general assembly of the Union of Cyprus Communities.
He also said that he was doing everything in his power to realise these communities’ visions and demands, always keeping in mind the difficult economic situation and the capabilities of the state.
“We have supported policies to deal with rural flight because we consider that the Cypriot countryside and its human resources are the life force of our country,” Nouris said.
“This is also why the interior ministry, the Urban Planning Council and the department of urban planning and housing, have insisted on the preparation of the Akamas plan, which should be taken into account very seriously, while at the same time protecting the environment and the wellbeing of the people living in the area,” he added.
Nouris said that “guided by our firm position to support the countryside and revitalise our mountain communities, we have allocated an amount of €450 million in the three-year period 2023-2025 to support them, through various actions”.
These include development projects, the implementation of housing plans and the provision of financial assistance to residents of mountainous and remote communities.
Additionally, the government has set in motion the implementation of a programme to allocate state budget savings to additional projects in rural areas.
“Never before has another government given such a large amount of support to the countryside,” he stressed.
He also stated that the total cost of the projects for the period 2023-2025 in municipalities and communities throughout the country will amount to €632 million.
Of this, €325 million concerns projects in urban areas, while €236 million projects in rural areas and another €71 million in peri-urban areas.
“This shows the importance we attach to the development of the countryside, but also the balance we maintain in the government’s development budgets,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nouris made special reference to the “very difficult and special role of our occupied communities, which have, among other things, the responsibility for preserving indelible memories, consciousness, perspective and hope for a return to our beloved villages, which are illegally held by Turkey, as a result of the barbaric invasion of 1974”.