The work of their parliamentary group during the last year was presented on Tuesday night by the MPs of the Movement of Environmentalists – Citizens’ Cooperation. The MPs pointed out that, despite their increased presence in the last year, their work has often encountered obstacles which, they said, are often related to opacity and corruption.
As noted during the presentation, the Movement is represented for the first time with three seats in the House of Representatives, held by the Movement’s President, Charalambos Theopeptou, Alexandra Attalidou and Stavros Papadouris, which implies participation in more committees, while success is considered and securing the presidency of the Parliamentary Environment Committee by Mr. Theopeptou.
The presentation of the parliamentary work of the three MPs of the Movement took place on Tuesday evening at the Filoxenia Conference Center, where the attendees had the opportunity to follow in detail the activities of the Environmentalists in the House of Representatives (submission of legislative proposals, registration of issues, submission of questions, etc. ) from June 2021 to July 2022, as well as the international interventions of the Movement, through the House of Representatives.
As mentioned during the presentation, since the start of the new parliamentary project, the MPs of the Environmental Movement submitted 121 parliamentary questions, out of the 358 submitted in total, i.e. 33.8%. Also, of the 1,142 registrations of ex officio subjects, 509, i.e. 44.6%, were filed with the contribution of the MPs of the Environmental Movement – Citizens’ Cooperation, which also contributed to 112 proposals for law, of which 12, i.e. 23, 5%, were upvoted in the Plenary of the Parliament.
85 of the 328 new issues in the Parliament, i.e. 21%, were tabled with the contribution or on behalf of the Movement’s deputies. A total of 814 topics were also rewritten, i.e. topics that were written in the previous parliamentary session and still exist, of which 312 are from Environmentalists, i.e. 38%.
It was also reported that out of the five draft resolutions tabled, the Movement tabled three, which dealt with the “condemnation of Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenians and the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh”, the “illegal and provocative actions of Turkey against of the Kurdish people” which were approved, while the resolution for the “protection of Akama” was not approved.
According to the presentation, the questions submitted by the three MPs concern the wider spectrum of society, areas of the environment and energy, culture, health, the economy, the rule of law, education, transport, work.
Mr Theopeptou said in his remarks that we are “in the worst situation and with the worst government we’ve ever had” when it comes to environmental issues, highlighting how energy poverty, rising fuel and electricity costs, but and necessities, affect citizens.
He made special reference to the difficulties caused to the parliamentary work by the naturalization scandal, where, as he said, “it was seen years ago that the government was backstabbing certain offices”. He spoke of the secrecy, irritation and aggression he faced “whoever tried to look into the matter”. He also added that a similar scene was created with the surveillance scandal and pointed out that these issues create a bad image for Cyprus in the EU and in other countries, “from which we ask to support us on the Cyprus issue”, as explained by President of the Movement.
Answering questions, Mr. Theopeptou underlined his concern for a proper public consultation open to the public, while he made special reference to the initiatives on issues related to the registration and inventory of artists, so that they can receive allowances and pensions. He also talked about the efforts to establish specifications for berthing areas, so that they do not become an occasion for appropriation of beaches. He also expressed his concern that achieving a 55% reduction in emissions by 2030 will be difficult with the limited utilization of RES, the gap in tree plantings and energy upgrades of buildings, as well as in public transportation.
Alexandra Attalidou also made a special reference to the difficulties created by government corruption during her inauguration, expressing doubts as to whether “Parliament can or wants to be the engine of purification”.
“This government has covered everything with a veil of opacity, especially with regard to passports and surveillance,” Ms. Attalidou stressed in response to questions, saying that the questions she submitted to ministries, as part of the parliamentary audit, received answers that were characterized confidential or secret, so could not be published.
He added that “in order to fight corruption, you need accountability and responsibility, but the government does not want to be accountable, nor does it take any responsibility, but rather tries to cover it up”, pointing out that he considers that the confidential answers he receives are corruption that is disguised. “When public figures use their position for personal interests, then there is corruption and unfortunately many accept this,” said Ms. Attalidou, also referring to the case of the plan for Akamas. He concluded that in order to fight corruption it is necessary for people to protest and to remove those who are corrupt from public office.
Stavros Papadouris emphasized during his presentation that the goal of his parliamentary work was to serve the public interest, without petty political expediencies and with a willingness to cooperate with other forces, so that the proposals could be passed. He explained that for this purpose, convergences between the parties are sought, with the ultimate goal of prosperity and sustainable development, both economically and socially, as he said. He himself pointed out, however, that “parliamentary work is not an easy or simple task, in a country ruled by corruption”.
Responding to questions, he stated that it is often difficult to see whether a bill submitted for approval under the pretext that it is necessary for harmonization with European directives actually has this purpose and brought as such an example the case of the recovery and resilience plan. As a very important success of the parliamentary project, he highlighted the establishment of ex officio examination by the court for abusive clauses in bad loans. Finally, he emphasized the importance of the initiative for the election of party leaders in the Parliament with a cross of preference, noting, however, that he does not expect the major parties to support this proposal.