The bill for the establishment of the Ministry of Culture, which was included in the agenda of today's plenary session of the Parliament for voting, causes serious quarrels between parliamentary parties, but also between MPs from the same parties. The main point of friction is the transfer of the Department of Antiquities to the Ministry of Culture. The director and the employees of the Department of Antiquities disagree with their subordination to the State Ministry, while the Ministry of Transport agrees, to which the Department of Antiquities currently belongs. In the parties DIKO and DIPA & # 8211; Cooperation views differ between Members. In DIKO, the majority of the deputies are against the transfer of the Department of Antiquities to the Ministry of Culture, while in DIPA-Cooperation the majority of the deputies are in favor. The disagreement within DIPA was revealed yesterday when MP Marinos Mousiouttas withdrew his position and submitted an amendment for the transfer of the Department of Antiquities to the Ministry of Culture four years after the law came into force, without stating (in the amendment) the reasons for such a thing. . Similarly in DIKO where an amendment was submitted by the party to keep the Department of Antiquities in the Ministry of Transport, but with the disagreement of MPs Pavlos Mylonas and Zacharia Koulia.
They are counting votes for… postponement
According to information from “P”, there is a high possibility that today's plenary vote on the bill for the Ministry of Culture will be postponed by the plenary session of the Parliament. The parties are counting their votes and if the numbers do not come out, then a postponement will be requested. Due to internal party disagreements that have arisen, parties will have leaked votes. In addition, a number of MEPs who have tabled amendments will be absent on business trips. According to the same information, the party that intends to request the postponement of today's vote is DIKO. The plenary session of the Parliament usually satisfies the request of a party when it requests the postponement of the voting of proposed laws, without, in fact, the party justifying this request.
AKEL Joint Front & # 8211; ΔΗΚΟ
The AKEL parties & # 8211; DIKO submitted a joint amendment that will be put to a vote before the bill, in order not to include the Department of Antiquities in the Ministry of Culture, as it is decided by both parties that the issues of antiquities must remain under their current management status by urgency of the Constitution and in particular Article 23.1 thereof, according to which the right of the Republic to antiquities is preserved. As AKEL & # 8211; DIKO, “given this constitutional provision and due to the bi-communal nature of the state and the subordination of antiquities to a neutral third ministry from the beginning, as well as the establishment of community assemblies, it is appropriate that the current situation is not disturbed in any way at this stage.” in a way that may in the future create unnecessary complications for the issue of antiquities, which is a matter of particular sensitivity for the Republic “. Furthermore, with the proposed transfer of the Department of Antiquities from the Ministry of Transport to the Ministry of Culture, according to both parties, “operational and technical problems will be created, as the work carried out by the Department of Antiquities requires the assistance of civil engineers. etc. These specialties/services are located in the Department of Public Works and the Department of Electromechanical Service, which also belong to the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works. “Given that no new posts are foreseen in the Ministry of Culture to be established, which will be almost budget-neutral, there will be major problems in finding and utilizing technical staff for technical work.”
What dissidents claim
A number of stakeholders active in the field of archeology, including the management and staff of the Department of Antiquities, have expressed their opposition to the transfer of the Department of Antiquities to the Ministry of Culture for constitutional, political, technical and historical reasons. In addition to the arguments set out in their joint amendment by the AKEL parties & # 8211; DIKO, the dissidents claim that the subordination of the Department of Antiquities to the Ministry of Culture is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, which put the antiquities in the power of the central state. Furthermore, this transfer, they argue, also conflicts with historical reasons, since, among other things, the range of responsibilities of the ministry under establishment is limited to specific historical periods and therefore there is a risk of leaving out thousands of years of culture and history of Cyprus. .
No legal barriers
Regarding the above concerns expressed by interested parties, the Minister of Transport Mr. Giannis Karousos asked in a letter to the Attorney General George Savvidis to comment on whether there is any legal obstacle from the transfer of the Department of Antiquities to the State Department. The Advocate General's opinion was sent on January 25, 2021, and according to it, there is no legal impediment. With Mr. Savvidis pointing out in his opinion that most of the issues raised in connection with the transfer of the Department of Antiquities to the Ministry of Culture are not legal but political in nature, and therefore can not be examined by the Legal Service. >
Subject and the Symphony Orchestra
According to the bill, the Ministry of Culture will gather all the responsibilities exercised today by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and the Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Transport. Additionally, the responsibilities of the Cyprus Handicraft Service will be transferred to the Ministry of Culture, which will also be transferred with its existing structure, as well as part of the responsibilities of the THOK.
Opposition MPs criticized the fact that the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra was not transferred to the Ministry of Culture, with the Attorney General stressing in his opinion that this could not be done because the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra is an institution under private law. In this regard, we note that during the discussion of the bill in question in the parliamentary Committee on Education, the deputies decided to include in the Ministry of Culture the responsibility of controlling the purpose and mission of private law organizations active in the field of culture. AKEL with an amendment submitted suggests that the Ministry of Culture, in addition to control, to exercise supervision over private law organizations operating in the field of culture, which includes the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra.
< b> Until July 1, 2022
With the passage of the bill for the establishment of the Ministry of Culture, a position of Deputy Minister and a position of General Director are automatically created. In case the bill is passed as it is, the Ministry of Culture will be staffed by the employees of the Cultural Services, the Department of Antiquities, the Cyprus Handicrafts Service and a small number of THOK employees who will be involved in theatrical development. The bill explicitly states that its provisions will be implemented & # 8211; if voted & # 8211; on a date to be determined by a decision of the Council of Ministers which, however, may not be later than 1 July 2022.