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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Risk of sitting on the bench of the EU court. Cyprus on the issue of Akamas

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Κiνδυνοσ να κ&alpha ;θλσει στο σκαμνλ του δικαστηρλο υ της Ε.Ε. η Κyπρος για το θΕμα του Α καμ&alpha?

The issue of allegations of violation of EU environmental legislation in Akamas by the Cypriot authorities remains open and under monitoring for the Committee on Petitions (PETI) of the European Parliament, after the debate on the issue within the committee's work on Wednesday in Brussels.

As a representative of the Commission stated during the session, the European Commission is examining decisions of the Court of Justice of the EU in relation to similar cases it had initiated against Germany and Ireland, before deciding on the next steps.

However, the spokeswoman herself emphasized, the Commission reserves the right to take the case to the Court of Justice of the EU if Cyprus does not comply “very soon”.

Committee members Peter Yar (EPP, Germany) spoke in favor of keeping the case of reports on Akamas open, welcoming the intentions of the Commission, Dimitris Papadakis (S&D, Cyprus) noting that the current situation has been created because the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus did not do their job properly and did not supervise the works, as well as Ana Miranda (Greens, Spain) who stated that the Cypriot authorities should be asked in a letter to explain what their plans are. In his intervention, the Cypriot MEP of the Left, Giorgos Georgiou, underlined that the violations must be investigated, while the Cypriot MEP Niazi Kizilgiurek emphasized that the environment in Cyprus is fragile and supported the Papadakis proposal for an investigative mission.

The proposal for a fact-finding mission submitted by MEP Dimitris Papadakis was not accepted at this stage due to the fact that the work of the current composition of the European Parliament is coming to an end soon and the remaining missions are already planned.< /p>

As part of the discussion, the signatories of petitions 0288/2022 (alleged violations of environmental legislation in Akamas) and 0450/2022 (on the development projects on the peninsula) presented the situation online.

Presenting petition 0288/2022 on behalf of the organization “Friends of the Earth” Cyprus, Anastasia Korai spoke of violations of EU legislation and fundamental rights that threaten the Akamas peninsula.

Ms. Korai noted that the report covers issues related to the environment, institutions, fundamental rights and corruption. He referred to the fact that Akamas is the most biodiverse area in the country, and that areas of it are considered protected under the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) and the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), but that there are still no effective and legally binding measures to protect the peninsula and the important species found in the area.

He also noted that in recent years the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus have not implemented national and community legislation, resulting in illegal interventions for boat moorings, creation of tourist beaches, expansion of quarrying zones and recently construction of roads without proper assessment.

< p data-block-key="341no">Ms. Korai also underlined that the Aarhus Convention on information, transparency and consultation is not sufficiently implemented, while Cyprus has not ratified the Barcelona Convention on Coastal Management, resulting in the construction of tourist accommodation over areas where they nest the Mediterranean seals (referring to the case of the sea caves in Pegeia).

Regarding justice, Ms. Korai pointed out that serious problems are being faced due to the delay in examining cases related to the environment, something that she said the EU has also found. She also referred to the role of the Archdiocese regarding the situation in Akamas.

As he pointed out, due to the situation in Akamas three fundamental rights are being violated: the right to environmental protection, the right to property and the right to proper administration.

Linking the issue to corruption, which, she noted, runs through the situation in Cyprus, Ms. Korai referred to the “golden passports” case, which she said is linked to interests in the construction sector and corrupt government officials.< /p>

He finally emphasized that under the Bern Convention Akamas should be declared a national park and protected area, and he referred to the need to have a single management authority for Akamas, adding that the Government currently has not proceeded with relevant planning and noting that there should be efforts for the proper and sustainable development of the area.

Speaking on behalf of Terra Cypria presenting petition 0450/2022, Kyriaki Michael referred to the development projects taking place in Akamas. He referred to the three infringement proceedings by the Commission against Cyprus for the systematic and incorrect application of the provisions of the relevant directives.

Unfortunately, he continued, there has been no progress on the three infringement proceedings that remain open on the Akamas situation. Regarding the management of the government's sustainable development plan for Akamas, he pointed out that it covers 75% of the Natura 2000 area, and includes the construction of roads and facilities within the national forest and protected areas.

Also, he noted, much of the work to improve the roads within the forest has been started in violation of the legally binding terms of the assessment report. At the same time, illegal installations have not been removed as should have been done before resuming work.

A representative of the Commission stated that the European Commission is aware that there is insufficient protection of the due to areas, both in Akamas and in other protected areas in Cyprus, leading to the initiation of infringement proceedings.

Cyprus, he noted, committed to setting adequate conservation targets and measures for all areas, which has been done for some of them. In relation to Akamas, he added, protected areas have been designated but the necessary measures have not been taken.

The representative of the Commission added that the Commission was waiting for the decision of the Court of Justice of the EU in relation to an appeal against Germany. The decision announced on September 21, 2023 (C116/22), together with a previous decision against Ireland (C444/21 of June 29, 2023), delineates the obligations of member states regarding the establishment of environmental conservation objectives and measures.

The Commission is examining the effects of these decisions in the case of Cyprus before deciding on the next steps, noted the spokeswoman, adding that the European Commission will continue to monitor the case, as well as to provide its technical support if needed.

He also emphasized that the Commission reserves the right to take the case to the EU Court if Cyprus does not comply by applying measures and rules very soon.

He finally underlined that the fact that no measures have been set, this does not mean that work can proceed in an anarchic manner. As he said, in the event that a project may negatively affect a protected area, an environmental impact assessment must be carried out. If it is found that there is a possibility that the area will be negatively affected, the national authorities must reject the project.

Source: KYPE

Source: reporter.com.cy

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