A draft bill on creating a deputy ministry of migration and asylum in Cyprus will likely be sent for a vote in the plenum after the Christmas holidays, as decided by the House interior committee on Thursday.
During the meeting, MPs discussed the draft bill article-by-article and concluded that although it will be sent for a vote, there are still several issues with the bill.
Speaking after the meeting, the head of the committee and Akel MP Aristos Damianou said, “It is known that there are serious issues that remain unsolved. As our own legal constitutional reservation is also recorded regarding the legality of the operation of deputy ministries in the Republic of Cyprus.”
He added that this does not prevent them from continuing to put the bill forward at the plenum, and that next week there will be a discussion with the parties.
At the end of November, it had emerged that there were significant legal and staffing challenges slowing down the creation of a deputy ministry for migration, which has been deemed an important move for Cyprus given the huge uptick in arrivals of asylum seekers over the past decade.
Speaking after the meeting attended by representatives from the interior ministry that proposed the creation of the new deputy ministry and representatives from the attorney-general’s office, committee head Damianou said there were also several problems in the way the bill has been drawn up.
He had raised similar concerns in a letter to Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou, stating that there were legal issues with the creation of the ministry.
In his letter, Damianou referred not only to legal challenges but also to issues of staffing, which were mentioned in notes by the public servants’ union Pasydy and a memo from the welfare services.
Damianou said that MPs had requested the ministry provide the legal background based on which the executive power decides on the establishment of deputy ministries.