Cyprus Mail

Discussion on Schengen system descends into political quagmire

Nikos Tornaritis

A discussion about Cyprus adopting the Schengen Information System (SIS) at the House legal committee on Wednesday turned into a political issue over the issue of borders.

MPs were discussing the bill which aims to regulate Cyprus’ SIS system on border control, including cross-border cooperation over police and judicial matters. It also seeks to help countries return illegal third country nationals to their home country.

Chairman of the committee and Disy deputy Nicos Tornaritis said “we will never say or tolerate the idea of calling the ceasefire line a border. It is not a border. The fight for freedom and reunification is being continued on all levels.”

The bill will be revised and sent back to parliament, where deputies will convene behind closed doors with government representatives to discuss high-level matters, he added.

The discussion will be centered around the question of how SIS can be implemented and what potential issues it might create for the Cyprus problem.

Akel MP Aristos Damianou said it was a “highly political matter” that the interior and justice ministers would have to be present for to discuss.

In a separate development, deputies also discussed a bill submitted by Tornaities and Disy MP Averof Neophytou on granting voting rights to representatives of religious groups.

Damianou explained that after Turkish Cypriots withdrew in 1963-1964, a number of rights that religious groups had were changed.

He said he was positive parliament could help finding a legal solution to the problem which has been ongoing for years.

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