Justice Minister Anna Koukkides – Prokopiou informed her EU counterparts of the creation of an independent authority to monitor the implementation of EU sanctions in Cyprus, during the second day of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the EU, which was held on Thursday and Friday in Luxembourg.

According to an official press release, the ministers had on Friday a thorough discussion on the issue of investigating and prosecuting with regard to violations of EU restrictive measures in relation to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In her intervention, Koukkides – Prokopiou referred to the mechanisms through which sanctions are implemented in the Republic of Cyprus, adding that a new independent authority is being created to monitor and impose sanctions.

She added that the Cyprus Police are currently investigating 15 relevant cases, where the main difficulty is the collection of evidence from non-EU jurisdictions. In this context, she suggested to have an exchange of good practices between member states as well as with Europol and Eurojust.

During a discussion on justice and human rights issues, the ministers approved the opening of trilogues with the European Parliament on draft legislation amending the directive on trafficking in human beings to include forced marriage, illegal adoptions and the voluntary use of services by trafficked persons in the definition of criminal offences.

Ministers also agreed on the amended proposal for a directive on violence against women and their intimate partners, in order to transpose the main provisions of the Istanbul Convention into EU law.

They also shared their positions on a text of conclusions on the safety of LGBTI people. Poland and Hungary were the only dissenters, which resulted in the conclusions not being adopted.

Before the Council’s meeting, Koukkides visited the EU Court of Justice where she met Cypriot Judges Konstantinos Lykourgos, Savvas Papasavvas and Anna Markoullis, as well as the Advocate General Nicholas Emiliou.

Meanwhile, in a statement on Thursday, after the first day of the Council, the Justice Minister said that among other things the ministers discussed the ways in which “technology enables us to be much more effective in protecting our borders”.

Referring to the migration flows to Cyprus, she noted that “this is somewhat a special case compared to other member states” and that during the discussion she stressed that this “should be taken into account during policy making in Brussels”.

“We have said that the sensitivity of the geopolitical position of the Republic of Cyprus in the volatile environment of the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the fact that it is an occupied country, increase risks in the management of irregular migration, and that is the most crucial security issue we face at the moment,” she noted.

The Ministers also referred to the fact that the Republic of Cyprus will have access to the Schengen Information System from July 25th 2023, which will be an additional tool in this effort.

Also she said that Cyprus “advocated the tightening of the position of the European Union towards third countries, which are a hub of migratory flows to the member states of Europe”. Cyprus argued “that immediate measures should be taken in this direction and that the consequences towards third countries, which assist such flows, should be immediate, more effective and much more serious than they are today,” the Minister stressed.